By Maxwell Awumah, GNA
Ho, Aug. 8, GNA - Mr Darlington Ahiale Akogo, Founder and Director of Artificial Intelligence (AI) at Gudra, a technology institution, has said artificial intelligence and data analytics could be used to gather health data, accurately to diagnose patients and provide precise treatment.
He said the need and unmet care of diagnostics could be automated to cut down on costs and empower health workers to do more.
Mr Akogo said this in a release copied to the GNA whiles at the MIT Tech Review held recently to discuss the “Potential of AI in African Healthcare System and Solutions”.
He said AI and data analytics would allow Africa to move accurately to monitor and track early symptoms of a disease outbreak among the population, which would be a pointer to guide evidence-based policy decision-making.
Mr Akogo said his organization, minoHealth AI Labs has established deep learning and convolutional neural networks for automated diagnostics and prognostics systems that could detect conditions including breast cancer, pneumonia, hernia and fibrosis from just x-ray images.
“By leveraging data analytics, health data can be analysed from facilities to better understand population dynamics and start tracking and forecasting outbreaks,” he said.
Mr Akogo said Gudra was receiving support from local partners, including the Christian Health Association of Ghana and the National Catholic Health Service, to test the systems in the country.
He said other African startups, the Ubenwa, deployed AI for cost-effective diagnosis of birth asphyxia in Nigeria by analyzing the sound of an infant cry and that Retina-AI was also developed for diagnosing and treating retinal diseases.
Mr Akogo said the effectiveness of AI in healthcare has been demonstrated globally with AI systems outperforming dermatologists in diagnosing skin care, radiologists diagnosing pneumonia in a Stanford study, and outperformed pathologists in detecting breast cancer.
The Director of AI said deep learning was being used to accurately predict the survival of patients, leveraging such powerful tool of AI in African healthcare system, “many tough challenges that have lingered for decades are being subdued.”
He said Ghana and many African countries are unfortunately popular for being riddled with healthcare concerns mostly due to unfair branding with Sub-Saharan Africa’s health expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic products (GDP) totaling just half the global average.
Mr Akogo said in 2016, there were 8.8 million deaths in Africa alone although about a third were from non-communicable diseases including stroke and ischemic heart disease, the majority was due to communicable diseases including lower respiratory tract infections and HIV.
He said some of the key reasons for the high mortality rates from communicable diseases was the shortage of skilled health workers, ineffective systems and the cost of care.
Mr Akogo said the devastative effect of Ebola outbreak of 2013-16, which took the lives of over 11,000 people in mainly Guinea, Liberia, DRC and Sierra Leone, could well be diagnosed by AI.
He said Malawi, for example, had 1: 60,000 doctor patient ratio with Ghana having about 34 radiologists, making it one radiologist for every 800,000 people and that deploying AI and data analytics was the way to go.