Nearly one quarter of the world’s TB cases are reported from India, making it a country with very high disease burden.(GETTY IMAGES.)
Nearly one quarter of the world’s TB cases are reported from India, making it a country with very high disease burden.(GETTY IMAGES.)

India to use Artifical Intelligence in TB care, sets deadline to end disease by 2025

The Central TB Division of the health ministry on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence to explore the application of cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence technology in its fight against the disease.
By Rhythma Kaul | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON AUG 30, 2019 08:49 PM IST

In line with the Narendra Modi government’s efforts on involving private players to plug the gaps in the healthcare delivery system, the Union health ministry is collaborating with a private institute to explore the use of artificial intelligence in tuberculosis (TB) care.

The Central TB Division of the health ministry on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence to explore the application of cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence technology in its fight against the disease.

Nearly one quarter of the world’s TB cases are reported from India, making it a country with very high disease burden.

As part of the collaboration, Wadhwani AI would be supporting India’s National TB programme to become AI-ready that would include developing, piloting, and deploying AI-based solutions.

“The partnership is for exploring the possibility of using AI based applications in TB care. The use of such advanced technology can be made for a variety of problems that we face in TB care, but we have not identified the areas yet,” said Vikas Sheel, joint secretary, health ministry.

Sheel signed the MoU on behalf of the health ministry.

The programme areas that AI based applications can support are in vulnerability and hot-spot mapping, modelling novel methods of screening and diagnostics and enabling decision support for care-givers apart from supporting the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) in adoption of other AI technologies.

The Revised National TB Control Programme has been at the forefront of adoption of newer technologies in healthcare. Artificial Intelligence provides a unique opportunity for the health sector, bringing efficiency, saving resources and bringing accuracy in interpretation and enhancing quality of service delivery.

Its use in this sector has ample scope to improve outcomes, especially in situations where resources are limited.

“The first step has been entering into a partnership and the next step will be to look at relevant areas,” Sheel said.

Five years ahead of the global target of 2030, India has set an ambitious aim of ending TB by 2025.

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