Ghana Startups Strengthening Healthcare Diagnosis in Africa.
by Kwame Gyamfi
Developing countries face major healthcare crises due to a shortage of healthcare professionals, compounded by a lack of access to healthcare facilities, especially in rural areas. In the medical imaging sub-sector, a vital tool for healthcare diagnosis, the radiologist-to-population ratio in sub-Saharan Africa is appalling. For instance, Ghana has 0.181 radiologists per 100,000 people, and Nigeria has 0.231 per 100,000 people compared to the recommended number of 12 radiologists per 100,000 people in Western Europe. As a result, many Africans do not have access to timely and accurate diagnosis and treatment.
The emergence of digital technologies and artificial intelligence is changing how doctors diagnose and treat patients, causing a revolution in the healthcare industry. In this innovation snapshot, we’ll outline how some of Ghana’s innovative health techs are transforming healthcare to bring new capabilities to diagnoses and patient care.
Chestify AI aims to tackle the socio-economic and health disparity created by inadequate medical infrastructure and fewer radiologists in Africa and the Caribbean with a clinician-led artificial intelligence platform providing comprehensive solutions for bio-medical imaging. The company’s deep learning models help radiologists and health professionals to analyze biomedical images faster and uncover insights that aid in detecting and diagnosing diseases. By leveraging artificial intelligence and automation, Chestify AI improves healthcare delivery by expediting the diagnostic process, reducing workload and providing cost-effective solutions that enhance their diagnostic capabilities without requiring extensive infrastructure updates or additional equipment. The company was co-founded by Mustapha Zaidan and Michael Osei-Gyeabour in 2020.
Founded in 2018 by Seth Quansah and Ernest Appiah, InstantRad is a teleradiology company that connects hospitals to radiologists. InstantRad has built an all-in-one solution that allows hospitals and teleradiologists to upload, view, and store millions of medical images from magnetic resonance imaging, computerized tomography, ultrasound, X-rays, mammogram scans, etc. and has remote radiologists review and produce reports on them. Medical practitioners have access to their patients’ scans and reports after analysis by radiologists, allowing further examination of the patients. Hospitals and healthcare facilities can easily set up and upload scans within minutes. The platform’s granular details, such as the time and the officer who uploaded or retrieved an image, help organisations hold officers accountable. There is also the second opinion option, which allows users to access specific radiologists locally and abroad, getting advanced reviews of their diagnoses. Radiologists can also build their own teleradiology or part-time consulting as it provides a centralised system that allows medical imaging professionals to receive thousands of images from all the hospitals they work with.
MinoHealth AI specialises in providing artificial intelligence for healthcare applications, such as medical image interpretation. It uses artificial intelligence for automated diagnostics, forecasts and prognostics to democratise quality and affordable healthcare in Africa. The company has developed AI systems for conditions including breast cancer, pneumonia, fibrosis, hernia, oedema, cardiomegaly, emphysema, effusion and pneumothorax. The platform analyses a medical image as input and determines if the chosen condition is present. MinoHealth leverages cloud technologies to store patient health data and make it accessible to physicians online. Founded by Darlington Akogo in 2016, the company is also building a generative AI system: a multimodal large language model, similar to GPT-4, for radiology and healthcare.
In addressing the pressing healthcare challenges faced by developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, the emergence of innovative healthtech companies such as Chestify AI, InstantRad, and MinoHealth AI signals a transformative shift. These ventures leverage artificial intelligence and digital technologies to tackle the shortage of healthcare professionals and limited access to medical facilities. These advancements showcase the potential for technology to bridge healthcare disparities, expedite diagnoses, and improve overall healthcare outcomes in resource-constrained environments.
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