Artificial Intelligence looped in to aid maternal health in villages
The George Institute for Global Health India, an independent medical research institute has announced that it has been offered a grant by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which will be used to integrate an innovative AI-based solution into the SMARThealth Pregnancy system in rural India.
गाँव कनेक्शन 18 Aug 2023 11:43 AM GMT
On August 17, The George Institute for Global Health India, an independent medical research institute headquartered in New Delhi announced that their project, to transform maternal and neonatal healthcare in rural communities across India is one of the 50 ‘Grand Challenges Catalyzing Equitable Artificial Intelligence (AI) Use’ grants given by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a Washington-based charitable organisation.
The press release stated that the funding will be utilised to integrate an innovative AI-based solution into the SMARThealth Pregnancy system, enabling two-way communication support between frontline health workers and rural beneficiaries.
“The ultimate goal is to reduce maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity,” it added.
SMARThealth Pregnancy is a low-cost, tablet-based system that supports clinical decision-making based on local guidelines. It helps community health workers identify women at risk during pregnancy and manage their healthcare in order to reduce and improve pregnancy outcomes and prevent future health complications.
“With a funding amount of $85,265, and working with AI experts from the University of Oxford Computational Health informatics Laboratory, George Institute India will expand the capabilities of the SMARThealth Pregnancy system, an advanced platform that combines frontline healthcare staff with artificial intelligence to deliver high-quality prenatal and postnatal care,” the press release stated.
The institute claims that by adopting advanced AI technology in the SMARThealth Pregnancy system the project has the potential to profoundly impact maternal and newborn health on a global scale and benefit over one million frontline medical professionals working in rural India.
Explaining the aim of looping in AI in healthcare, the official statement said that it is “to address the healthcare challenges faced by resource-constrained regions, including the scarcity of healthcare workers and gender-related obstacles, in order to provide comprehensive healthcare to women in remote areas of low- and middle-income nations.”
“We are honoured to have the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in our efforts to address critical issues related to maternal and newborn health,” the press release quoted Dr D Praveen who leads the SMARThealth program at The George Institute for Global Health, India.
“With the support of this funding, we will leverage the power of artificial intelligence to equip frontline healthcare professionals with the necessary tools to deliver timely and effective healthcare to women in rural areas,” it quoted.
With the help of the grant money, the institute will undertake extensive training and validation of the AI models, incorporating valuable knowledge from Indian and WHO guidelines.
Additionally, the focus group discussions and stakeholder engagement workshops will ensure the inclusion of multiple perspectives from frontline healthcare professionals, medical practitioners, experts, and department of health officials.
“At the heart of our mission lies a deep commitment to empowering and uplifting those who tirelessly serve on the frontlines of healthcare, including ASHAs [Accredited Social Health Activist] and ANMs [Auxiliary Nurse Midwife], who are the backbone of rural healthcare in India,” Vivekanand Jha, Executive Director, The George Institute for Global Health India was quoted in the press release.