The first artificial intelligence-based (--AI--) symptom-assessment application to be made available in Swahili has been launched today, unlocking access to health information and advice for more than 100 million people seeking healthcare in East Africa.-- The app, developed by Ada Health, combines a world-class medical knowledge database with intelligent reasoning technology to help users understand what might be causing their symptoms, as well as providing localized guidance about what they should do next. In doing so, the app aims to empower patients to make informed decisions about their own health, while also complementing and supporting existing healthcare services, doctors and clinics.-- Globally, four billion people - more than half the world--s population - lack access to basic health services, with the disadvantages of this global health challenge often disproportionately experienced by people in low- and middle-income countries. East Africa is a region that is acutely affected by this issue.
As pressures on healthcare systems intensify, an increasing number of consumers are turning to the use of symptom checkers in the search for fast answers – or guidance – to any concerns that they may have. But although these tools have become popular, questions around their accuracy, and not only, are plaguing the digital health space. Last week, at Slush, Ada Health cofounder and chief medical officer Claire Novorol spoke to Wired UK's Victoria Turk about the Berlin-headquartered company's approach to building trust in its AI-powered chatbot. "Absolutely key, first of all, is the quality of the product," Novorol told the audience. "So what we've always focused on from the very beginning, eight years ago now actually, is the quality of the core product, the foundation of everything that we do, and that's our knowledge base, our reasoning engine, and how it works, the clinical quality of that, accuracy, safety."
KINSHASA – "I haven't once spoken my mother tongue Kilokele in the 62 years I've lived in Kinshasa. None of my nine children speak it," says Charles Tongohala. Tongohala's native tongue is one of 450 spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a sprawling nation of 71 million people whose lingos -- almost all of them spoken, not written -- account for 9 percent of the world's 5,000 languages. He was a boy when he moved to the capital from a northeastern village that is home to the Lokele fisher people, who live along the banks of the giant Congo River and speak Kilokele. Now retired, Tongohala worked for Congo's river transport company.
"Hakuna matata" may very well be the only Swahili phrase that many people outside of East Africa have ever heard (thanks, Lion King), but a 4-foot-tall humanoid robot named Pepper is working to change that. The National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C.--part of the Smithsonian Institution's network--is using Pepper to explain the meaning of Swahili words and phrases that appear in its artworks. The Smithsonian says it's the first museum complex in the world to use this particular robot, which was developed by SoftBank Robotics in 2014, made available to Japanese consumers in 2015, and later released to a wider market. Considered to be the world's first robot capable of reading emotions, Pepper is multi-talented. He has already found a home in several different Smithsonian sites, where he interacts with visitors, answers questions, plays games, tells stories, and even dances.
KAMPALA – Languishing with fever and frustrated by delays in diagnosing his illness, Brian Gitta came up with a bright idea: a malaria test that would not need blood samples or specialized laboratory technicians. That inspiration has won the 25-year-old Ugandan computer scientist a prestigious engineering prize for a non-invasive malaria test kit that he hopes will be widely used across Africa. For developing the reusable test kit known as Matibabu, Gitta this month was awarded the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. The award by the Royal Academy of Engineering in Britain comes with £25,000 ($32,940). Malaria is the biggest killer in Africa, and the sub-Saharan region accounts for about 80 percent of the world's malaria cases and deaths.