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Telemedicine with AI and Chatbots in Africa

An application developed with AI to check users symptoms and a video chat integration to enable patients communicate with doctors real time.

Photo of Innocent Okeke
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In times of crisis, communications systems are often overwhelmed with people trying to find basic information about testing, symptoms, community response, and other resources. When communication lines get clogged, people who need real help can't get through.

This is an enormous challenge since the healthcare systems cannot cope with the volume of patients needing help as a result of COVID-19, even if there were no other calls associated with cardiovascular, pulmonary and metabolic diseases and cancer.

The effect of this has varied from country to country but some patterns are emerging. For example, primary care has long held the promise that problems like access and care could be delivered digitally, but to date the scale of actual digital adoption has been disappointing, and the aspirations we have all had around digital transformation have had to be tempered by the reality of slower speeds of adoption than anticipated. This could be changing and the 2020 could be remembered not only as the age of COVID-19 but also as the age when digital transformation become the mainstream solution in Africa.  

Inaadequate Health facilities and health personels in african hospitals and health care centers is something that is known to all and sundry.


With Telemedicine, the public can get access to symptoms checker which will be built to ask questions the same way doctors ask questions when diagnosing a patient and access to doctors via video chat. With this, patients can consult doctors from the comfort of their home. 

What is the need are you focusing on?

Communication crisis as a result of pandemic.

Unable to access to doctors real time due to socio-economic problems. 

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Identifying a gap that needs to be addressed

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

This goal can be achieved by developing an app that shall serve as a Chatbot in order to automate e-consulting to communities in Africa. 1. The AI powered Chatbot will collect the data of the citizen, assess the symptoms and connect to a human agent where needed, who will in turn gather the information, review it, and classify the feedbacks based on how critical they're. After which the agent will now forward those critical issues to the nearest hospital. The hospital shall be aware of the kind of patient coming and not to mix him with Covid-19 patients. After proper verification and the service of the NCDC (National Center for Disease Control, Nigeria) is involved if for example the patient exhibits Covid-19 symptoms. 2. The chatbot will detect the type of disease and provide suitable treatment at home based on data collected from similar types of symptoms. If the patient doesn't seem satisfied, there will be a video integrated channel where they can consult a doctor via videocall

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Maybe-with additional support

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

This innovation will be beneficial to both healthcare providers and individuals in various ways, which includes: 1. Helps reduce the human interaction and assists social distancing even when seeking for medical consultancy. 2. Helps reduce the monitoring burden faced by the CDCs. 3. It can also be an avenue to assist the governmental and non-governmental organizations in the distribution of aids and protective kits to vulnerable people suffering from the effect of the shutdown in the cause of fighting the virus. 4. Grant the public access to analysing their symptoms quickly and easily without leaving the comfort of their homes.

What is the name of your business or organization?

NowTech Enterprises

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

NowTech is a new technology company building AI powered solutions for Africa and offering technical services to companies in Nigeria. NowTech.com.ng

What is your profession?

Software Engineer

Where are you located (country)?

Nigeria

Where are you located (region)?

  • Western Africa

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Technology

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 0-10

How old is your business/company?

  • Less than 1 year old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Business

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Funding- Investment
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Private Sector
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Government
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Grassroots/Community Groups

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

Help needed includes, finding software developers who are interested in building AI powered projects. Finding health experts, doctors to help develop data and frequently asked questions for the chatbot and symptom checker. Partnership with community groups who will help distribute and educate the general public on the benefit of the solution.

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

Funds. Access to funds to be able to pay software developers, power utilities, office space. Workforce. Being able to get the required talents needed for the job done.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

I've been able to deploy a chatbot that can answer questions about Covid19 for testing how the chatbot will respond to questions. URL- https://integrations.eu-gb.assistant.watson.cloud.ibm.com/web/public/cc95ca8c-2a80-4f97-98fa-1acdd02b6765 I've also learnt about data management systems and how to integrate the video chat and human agent to the chatbot.

4 comments

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Spam
Photo of Katherine Clayton
Team

Did you see Brian’s WhatsApp chatbot surveillance solution? I feel like there could be really interesting synergies between your two unique products! Thanks for the great work.

Spam
Photo of Innocent Okeke
Team

Oh! I'll check his work and contact him on how we can collaborate.

Thanks for notifying me.

Spam
Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Hi Innocent Okeke I'm curious how you are seeing the needs of the users changing after the current situation and how might your solution evolve to meet those new needs?

Spam
Photo of Innocent Okeke
Team

The Bot will be trained with large datasets of several diseases, symptoms and recommended treatments.

Users who visit the App, will be able to check their symptoms for various diseases and get recommended treatments without having to visit the hospital.

In situation, where the user have doubts about the results, they have the option of consulting a doctor via the app.