Could 2021 see an AI breakthrough for Kenya’s medicine?

When Facebook used Artificial Intelligence to boost blood donation in Kenya mid this year, it set the stage for what could become the driver for faster, effective medical attention in 2021.

With more technology companies setting office in Nairobi, Kenya could benefit from the most advanced deployments of Machine Learning, a sub-set of AI, especially in controlling cardiovascular diseases.

Now that Kenya has an AI taskforce and a Data Protection law, using the power of Big Data analytics, which forms the basis of AI, the country will highly benefit from the technology from a feasibility point of view.

Both a heart attack and a stroke are medical emergencies requiring the right care at the right time to avoid death and minimise disability, but with that becoming more resource intensive, AI will be in more use to manage the risks better going forward.

The use of AI to classify people by risk levels is becoming more helpful each. High-risk individuals are offered preventive programmes to prevent cardiovascular arrests. Thus, AI will help Kenyan doctors to make informed decisions which are critical to thousands of from heart disease patients.

Opportunities also exist for the use of AI at a population level, for example, in identifying location-specific risk factors contributing to control of diseases of the cardiovascular system.

Speedy and accurate diagnosis of acute conditions will be in high demand as well as applications that use algorithms and machine learning for diagnosis.

It is envisioned that in 2021, these will be used to replace clinicians for diagnosis. It has been possible to use AI to hasten diagnostics for cardiac diseases as most diagnostic tests are already in digital formats such as radiological imaging ECG, X-rays and Magnetic Resonance Imaging CT scans.