Gates Foundation backs self-checkup app's expansion in Africa

19 October 2018

Digital Content

A free app that lets patients do quick health checkups on themselves is the centerpiece of a Gates Foundation-backed project to bring better care to poor regions of Africa and eastern Europe.

The medical app will be the first of its kind available in Swahili, and will also be offered free in Romania, tech startup Ada Health GmbH said on Wednesday in a statement. The project, also receiving funding from the Swiss-based Fondation Botnar, will open up Ada’s artificial-intelligence-enabled health advice to some 2 million people in areas with little access to hospitals and providers.

Poor countries around the globe are suffering from severe shortages of health-care workers, according to the World Health Organisation, with the most severe challenges in Africa, where the unmet need is forecast to rise most sharply.

Ada’s software is designed to help patients determine whether they need care and put them in touch with nearby services when they’re required, relieving pressure on health systems.

"It helps you get a better idea of the medical condition that’s causing symptoms, and then helps you make an informed decision about next steps," said Daniel Nathrath, Berlin-based Ada’s co-founder and chief executive officer. "In Tanzania, often the best option will be to find out where the closest community health worker is."

Read the full story on Fin24 here.