Ada, an AI-powered health platform that helps users understand their health and navigate to appropriate care, has announced the launch of its Global Health Initiative (GHI) that aims to improve the availability and delivery of primary care in underserved populations worldwide.

Ada was founded in 2011 by a team of doctors, scientists and engineers. Since they launched their free-to-download health guide app in 2016, Ada has completed over seven million health assessments and has become one of the most popular medical apps in over 130 countries.

Globally, four billion people lack access to basic health services and, due to population growth, there will be an estimated 18 million shortfall in health workers by 2030. The Ada GHI aims to help solve this problem by combining AI, human medical expertise and mobile technology to deliver access to healthcare and guidance at scale.

Approximately one third of Ada’s users are based in rural and less developed healthcare markets. Led by newly-appointed Managing Director of the GHI, Hila Azadzoy, GHI will partner with governments, NGOs and global health organisations to research, build and implement new AI-led solutions to specific healthcare needs in lower- and middle-income countries (LMIC).

At the centre of these solutions will be Ada’s AI technology, which has been trained over the past seven years using real-world medical cases and with insights from a team of over 100 doctors, scientists and PhDs.

“Since launching Ada, we’ve heard hundreds of stories about how the app has improved or even saved lives,” said CEO and Co-founder of Ada, Daniel Nathrath.

“Often these stories come from parts of the world where it can be extremely difficult to see a doctor or get professional medical advice – but where people do own, or have access to, a smartphone. By partnering with organisations that share our vision for the future of healthcare, we are increasing Ada’s impact in developing economies, and moving forward our mission to make quality, personalised care a reality for everyone,” continued Nathrath.

Ada’s initial GHI project partners are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Fondation Botnar, a Swiss foundation applying the latest technology to improve the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents in LMIC.

Ada will be partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to explore the efficacy of AI-powered self-assessment technology in recommending specific diagnostic tests and improving patient outcomes. Ada will analyse millions of self-assessment cases from sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, India and South America to identify the diagnostic tests that, when combined with AI, could deliver the biggest impact in LMIC.

By partnering with Fondation Botnar, Ada will become the first health guidance app to feature Swahili language integration, making its health assessment technology available to more than 100 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa. Earlier this year Ada also integrated Spanish, Portuguese and French languages, and plans on adding integrating Romanian to its growing list of languages.

The new Swahili and Romanian language integrations will be deployed initially in East Africa and Romania, respectively, focusing on families and adolescents in areas with limited access to healthcare. Within the first three years, the initiative aims to reach two million people in Romania and East Africa. This partnership is part of Fondation Botnar’s focus on exploring innovative approaches to support and empower health workers, extending their knowledge with AI-enabled solutions such as Ada, so they can better assess and guide patients when a doctor isn’t immediately available.

“The global shortage of health workers has a severe impact on children and adolescents,” said CEO at Fondation Botnar, Stefan Germann.

“Our partnership with Ada will focus on addressing this issue in East Africa and Romania by using AI to help adolescents and families access high-quality health guidance for their physical and mental health. The project will also provide valuable insights to Fondation Botnar and Ada as we look to expand this innovative approach to other LMIC,” concluded Germann.

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