Digital healthcare: Numa Health introduces AI platform
Digital healthcare marketplace Numa Health has launched AskNuma, a mobile phone based artificially intelligent personal healthcare assistant. Co-founders Dr Tobi Obisanya and Anthony Ajose claim the mobile health platform hosts a wide database of health information which users can access in realtime.
The virtual assistant provides users with diagnosis based on the results of their interactions and is designed to be able to connect them with the closest and most relevant healthcare facility. AskNuma Co-founder, Dr Tobi Obisanya reiterated the lack of information and poor supporting healthcare infrastructure which leads to poor health for a vast majority of patients.
"In maternal health, over 2,300 children under five and 145 women of childbearing age die daily in Nigeria and according to UN figures, Nigeria contributes to over 10% of the maternal mortality figures globally. These figures highlight the wider issues and challenges in the Nigerian healthcare system and exist due to fragmentation in the healthcare system, a lack of information regarding healthcare options and a lack of basic medical records."
Co-founder, Anthony Ajose added, "Numa directly addresses these gaps in healthcare provision by leveraging existing healthcare resources with novel technology, increasing access to healthcare for patients and caregivers. Our personal automated health assistant is accessible via AskNuma.com, patients can manage minor conditions while securely and confidentially connecting to verified healthcare professionals and services when needed for further treatment locally."
The Special Adviser to the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Seun Omobo said, "Nigeria is at a stage where everyone is now aware that technology will significantly advance healthcare and we encourage companies like this to come up with innovative solutions to promote health. Electronic health records of patients and telehealth medicine are very important as they give people in rural and remote areas have access to health."
Africa's eHealth sector
In September 2016 Kenya, Ghana and South Africa were identified as leaders in eHealth and telemedicine, according to the Enabling eHealth Technology in South Africa, Kenya and Ghana report.The Report said that companies including Merck, Tech4Life Enterprise, Telemedicine Africa, VSee, CenHealth, Connected Care and Dimagi offer eHealth platforms that offer integrated services.
"The total eHealth market for South Africa, Kenya and Ghana is in a nascent stage with expectations of high long-term growth," said Aditi Bhalla, transformational health research analyst for Frost & Sullivan.
In Uganda, health care service delivery company The Medical Concierge Group (TMCG) has applied unified communications, underpinned by mobile technology and the internet, to bring patients into direct contact with those that can offer medical services.Based in Kampala, TMCG runs a call centre service that provides free access to doctors, pharmacists and other professionals, to anyone seeking consultation and information.
The call centre is set up using Asterisk software for the voice service and call centre technology E1 cards that enables the infrastructure to handle up to 60 simultaneous calls. RapidPro open source software is used for SMS engagement and, according to TMCG, can handle tens of thousands number of SMS interactions per minute.
Dr Davis Musinguzi, MD at TMCG said, "Surveys show that 60-70% of the reasons that take people to hospital do not actually require them to go to hospital physically. Most of them can be resolved remotely by a medical professional's interpretation, reassurance and direction. Mobile technology and medical call centres in particular provide an avenue through which a small team of health professionals can serve a larger number of people without physically being present."