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AstraZeneca unveils Africa Health Innovation Hub

By , ITWeb
Africa , 17 Apr 2023
Melusi Breast AI device
Melusi Breast AI device

Bio-pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has launched the Africa Health Innovation Hub, which will use the latest science and technology, including artificial intelligence, to improve access to healthcare on the continent.

The official launch event took place last week at the Daspoort Poli Clinic in Pretoria, South Africa, where healthcare practitioners were able to demonstrate the use of the Melusi Breast AI device in a community clinic setting.

In a statement, AstraZeneca said the Africa Health Innovation Hub will also invest in building local talent, ‘promote policy change for cancer screening’, ‘close the gaps in healthcare access’ and improve the quality of life for patients in the African region, ‘particularly in rural and underserved communities’.

It said the objectives of the hub are aligned with the four pillars of AstraZeneca’s A. Catalyst Network: education and awareness; early diagnosis and referral; connectivity and technology; and data generation.

A.Catalyst Network is an interconnected global network of more than 20 AstraZeneca health innovation hubs, made up of physical locations and virtual partnerships.

The collective ambition of the network is to address current healthcare challenges, increase affordable and equitable access to healthcare and scale and showcase patient‑enabled innovation through partnerships.

Commenting on the Africa Health Innovation Hub, Gagan Singh, country president, African Cluster, AstraZeneca, said: "The launch of the Africa Health Innovation Hub is a significant step in our goal to unlock digital transformation and innovation in health across the continent, paving the way for patient-centric digital health solutions that leave no one behind. By working with partners across the continent, we are nurturing local talent and making quality healthcare more accessible for all.”

The company said two major new partnerships will form the backbone of the Hub in its initial phases.

In South Africa, AstraZeneca is partnering with Medsol AI Solutions to help promote the use of AI in the detection of disease through a WiFi ultrasound probe that can detect breast cancer in seconds.

Dr Kathryn Malherbe, CEO and founder, MedSol AI Solutions said: “Breast cancer is a devastating disease, with many women in our communities only able to access late-stage diagnoses. The Melusi Breast AI project will enable us to leverage technology and innovation to improve early diagnostic detection rates and patient outcomes in local clinics, ultimately saving lives."

In Kenya, AstraZeneca said it is expanding an ‘already successful collaboration’ with Tricog Health Limited.

Dr. Charit Bhograj, CEO and founder, Tricog Health Limited said: “By investing in digital health technology, the Africa Health Innovation Hub is enabling the use of advanced AI to screen and diagnose patients remotely, bringing high-quality health tools to people, no matter where they live.”

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