How Google Health Applies AI in Africa in 4 Ways

Every day across Africa, people use Google products such as Search, YouTube, and Fitbit to gain insight into their health and well-being.

However, many people need to be aware that we’ve been looking into ways AI can improve patient health outcomes and how AI can help our partners offer more effective health services, including improving maternal health outcomes and creating helpful technology for health professionals.

In celebration of the forthcoming Africa HealthTech Summit to be held in Kigali, Rwanda — an event that brings together a diverse collection of health experts and experts in public health to exchange knowledge and share ideas to improve the health environment in Africa, Here’s how google is working together with partners across Africa to study and investigate the latest AI-powered tools for healthcare.

  • Finding Skin Problems By Using Images

    Skin Moles & Rashes Problems

It can be challenging to describe skin moles or rashes precisely using words. People from Japan and the US have used Google Lens to search for information on skin conditions by using photos instead of text. The feature is currently being extended to the whole African continent. 

It is easy to take photos, upload them to Lens, and search for visually like-minded matches. 

This feature is ideal when you’re unsure what to call something in your body, such as a lip bump, a line that appears on your nails, or a loss of hair on your head.

  • Improved Maternal Health Outcomes In Kenya

    Improved Maternal Health Outcomes In Kenya

Ultrasounds are a great way to identify possible issues during early pregnancy; however, capturing and interpreting ultrasound is a difficult medical imaging method that requires years of study and expertise. 

Due to the lack of specialists and a high percentage of women who are pregnant in low-resource environments are not screened with ultrasound during pregnancy. 

Now, AI models could make ultrasounds more accessible to less-trained ultrasound technicians in settings with limited resources. Jacaranda Health Kenya charity is focused on improving the health of mothers and babies in state hospitals to prove the efficacy of AI in clinical environments. 

In this partnership, they’ll research better to understand the current practices for ultrasounds in Kenya and examine how the latest AI tools could aid in providing an ultrasound for pregnant women.

  • Testing For Tuberculosis With AI

    Testing For Tuberculosis With AI

As per the World Health Organisation, tuberculosis (TB) is the 9th most fatal cause of death in the world, with more than 25 percent of TB deaths being in Africa. Although TB is treatable, it requires practical and cost-effective screening methods to detect the disease in its early stages and limit its spread to the community. 

In 2018, Google partnered with an AI-powered organization led by Right to Care, a not-for-profit company with extensive knowledge of TB treatment in Africa and the world, to make AI-powered screenings accessible across Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Google partners have pledged to provide 100,000 free AI-powered TB tests as part of the collaboration.

  • Access To Obstetric Emergencies In Nigeria

    Access To Obstetric Emergencies In Nigeria

According to estimates from recent years, only 0.06 percent of all births in the world occur in Nigeria; however, the country contributes 28% of worldwide maternal deaths each year, and studies show that long travel times are a factor in adverse maternal outcomes. 

Google has recently launched an application in Nigeria, created in conjunction with OnTIME. This OnTIME consortium will help authorities and public health institutions tackle the issue of accessing urgent obstetric treatment. 

Utilizing Google’s internal directions API — which is the identical API used to power navigation on Google Maps — decision makers can view data on typical travel times to the nearest emergency obstetrical clinics in various regions, helping them understand the areas where expecting mothers might be unable to access lifesaving healthcare.

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