New App Diagnoses Malaria
Malaria is prevalent in Africa and it has been quite challenging preventing and combatting this disease.
In health centres across Africa, lab technicians work round the clock checking blood samples under the microscope to detect the samples that have malaria parasites.
It is time-consuming to arrive at a confident diagnosis.
An Artificial Intelligence lab at Makerere University in Uganda has discovered a way to use a cell phone to diagnose blood samples.
The program uses its own criteria based on certain sets of images introduced to it to then recognize common characteristic of the infection.
Martha Nakaya an experienced lab technologist of 11 years has stated that “Microscopists usually have a problem with their eyes because of overstraining,”
With the new technology, diagnosis time can be reduced from 30 minutes to as low as two minutes.
In 2016, The Ministry of Health 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.
The device is yet to be made widely available but the challenge lies in taking the device to remote areas.