The prevalence of Malaria in Africa has baffled many health practitioners within the continent and across the world. The process of detecting this number one killer disease in Sub-Sahara Africa is quite tasking, with the traditional blood sample collections or guess work based on symptoms on many occasions. With its attendant time consumption, there’s certainly the need for a better, safer, convenient way of detecting the disease.
An Artificial Intelligence lab at Makerere University in Uganda has discovered a way to use a cell phone to diagnose blood samples. Isn’t this amazing?
The app is program med to recognize certain characteristics common with the infection by providing a specific criteria based on certain images.
Martha Nakaya an experienced lab technologist of 11 years has stated that “Microscopists usually have a problem with their eyes because of overstraining,” The new technology reduces the time spent on diagnosis from 30 minutes to as low as 2 minutes.
The Ugandan Ministry of Health, had in 2016 discovered that malaria is the number one cause of death in the country. The death from malaria occurs more frequently in the rural areas because of the poor access to nurses and doctors.
Due to the challenge faced in diagnosis, there are cases of misdiagnosis, this occurs when a sample is read as negative and then days after the owner of the sample comes back days later with malaria.
The app uses a learning programme with microscopic images to study the characteristics of Plasmodium parasite that causes malaria and the bacteria that causes Tuberculosis.
The new app will be used by lab technicians to make work easier for them. It will aim towards more efficient testing and accurate results. Health workers will have to be trained on identifying the minute details of images and this implies that more people in rural communities can access the device.