Nigeria : HIV care improved by AI
In Africa, the stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS contributes to keeping the disease out of control. In Nigeria, where nearly 1.9 million people are HIV positive, technology has demonstrated its ability to improve their care.
The Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria (IHVN) and healthtech Vantage Health Technologies on Thursday (2 June) revealed their successful collaboration on a project that has kept many HIV-positive patients on treatment for as long as possible.
The two partners achieved this patient retention programme through the artificial intelligence and data analysis offered by Vantage Health Technologies' platform. It provided health services with personalized information about HIV-positive patients on treatment.
How it works
Annika Lindorsson Krugel, Head of Solutions at Vantage Health Technologies, explained that "the patient retention solution is an AI-based model that uses patient history data to predict whether patients will miss their next clinic appointment.
A list of these at-risk patients is given to clinic staff who take various actions to prevent them from missing a treatment day. These range from text message reminders, calls to home visits for those who do not have a phone. Interviews are organized to provide psychological support to each patient at risk before an appointment at the clinic.
For Mercy Omozuafoh, the care and support programme manager at IHVN, "the project has demonstrated the effectiveness of proactive monitoring of patients living with HIV (PLHIV) and has made us realize the importance of the interventions we are implementing.
Using artificial intelligence, the IHVN was able to predict and positively influence the behavior of people at high risk of HIV/AIDS. The predictive model was deployed to about 30,000 patients at Kudwa General Hospital in Bwari, Federal Capital Territory; Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital in Lafia, Nasarawa State; and Ahoada General Hospital in Rivers State.
It should be noted that the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) estimates that between 1.8 and 1.9 million Nigerians are currently living with HIV/AIDS. Of these, 1.6 million are already on treatment.
According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), one of the challenges in combating the epidemic in Africa remains keeping HIV-positive people on sustainable treatment.
During the project, IHVN and Vantage Health Technologies identified stigmatization, side effects, logistical challenges, economic barriers and forgetfulness as the main obstacles to treatment adherence. The two partners also found that support from caregivers, peers and understanding of one's status help patients overcome these barriers.
Once again, technology is advancing enough areas and health is just one of them.
Source: We Are Tech Africa
Translated by Koboyo KANABIA