News Responsible AI and Healthcare

AI is gaining ground in many healthcare fields in Africa, including in the detection of diseases, treating of chronic conditions and delivering health services. Thus, Responsible AI Network – Africa had its last virtual workshop for 2020 on Responsible AI and Healthcare. The event brought together a panel of university professors across the continent researching on using AI to improve healthcare in Africa. Caitlin Corrigan (TUM IEAI) introduced the event, which was moderated by Patrick Wamuyu (United States International University, Kenya)

Rose Nakasi, Makerere University, gave insights on how her institute use AI software to built on deep learning algorithms that use an annotated library of microscope images to learn the common features of plasmodium parasites that cause malaria. She also highlighted the importance of considering representative data, explainable AI and potential biases in the data for an effective clinical framework. With this technology, pathogens are counted and mapped out quickly, then confirmed by a health worker. Through this, diagnosis times could be reduced from 30 minutes to as little as two minutes

Dr Attlee Gamundani, United Nations University Institute in Macau, talked about how the UNU Institute in Macau encourages data-driven and evidence-based actions and policies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. He then went on to talk about his work on AI Governance and Ethics, which aims to provide a participatory approach towards the design, implementation and sustainability of AI governance in the health sector. This approach embraces ethical considerations and all key players from the technical, civil society and public sectors, as well as the private sector sit at the same decision-making table.

Dr Damien Hanyurwimfura, University of Rwanda discussed his centre’s healthcare framework which uses big data to improve healthcare analysis, service delivery and quick smart medical decisions through the development of an integrated healthcare big-data framework. He also talked about another project where they use an IOT embedded gate way for smart healthcare management.

Dr. Gaoussou Camara, Alioune Diop University in Bambey (UADB), Senegal, gave insights into his project that is building an epidemiological surveillance system for diseases spread prediction and to design prevention strategies. He also highlighted some ethical challenges they are facing on data collection (for instance identifying factors related to ethnicity ), data storage and cloud processing of the data.

Prof Timothy X Brown, Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda, discussed his work on sending health information to low resources and low-literate population at the Mahama Refugee Camp through Interactive Voice Response. The project has easy to add content, gives community information and gets real time data from usage. He also talked about some key ethical issues in his research such as the working with vulnerable populations, problems with anonymizing voice data and the validity of the health information provided by the population.

These presentations were followed by an open discussion session demonstrating the speakers practical activities and experience in this area. Laud Ammah (TUM IEAI) wrapped up our final 2020 event by indicating that RAIN-Africa would adopt some of the ideas to improve its work on Responsible AI in Africa.