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African ICT Foundation Calls for Adoption of Artificial Intelligence in the Continent’s Healthcare Challenges

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The African ICT Foundation (AFICTF) has advocated that artificial learning and machine language will change the future by improving treatment design, fine tuning diagnosis and improving accuracy and speed of detection, improving clinical administration, patient experience and general human life.

The Foundation made its position known in a paper presented at the annual seminar of the Lagos University Medical Society, hosted by the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital with the theme: Artificial Intelligence in Health designed to inform the members of the profession about latest technology advance in health care.

A member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation, Mr. Oludare Akinbo who spoke on the topic: ‘AI in Medical Practice-Future of Healthcare’ noted that media attention has largely centred on the ability of AI/ML to transform how clinical care is delivered through better diagnostics and treatments.

According to him, IBM’s Watson supercomputer is still the best-known appliance for Machine Learning adding that Watson is mainly used in the medical and financial sectors.

He disclosed that there are 121 digital health companies leveraging AI/ML and have raised a total of $2.7B with 206 deals from 2011 through 2017, which just over 10% of all venture dollars invested in digital health during that period.

He said also that funding for AI/ML companies peaked in 2016 at $776.4M representing nearly one-third of total funding to AI/ML companies since 2011.

Quoting a 2016 report from CB Insights, Akinbo said that about 86% of healthcare provider organisations, life science companies, and technology vendors to healthcare are using artificial intelligence technology saying that by 2020, these organisations will spend an average of $54 million on artificial intelligence projects.

Akinbo stated further that many AI technologies are cropping up to help people streamline administrative and clinical health care processes.

“Various professionals and reports predict that artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) will diagnose disease better and earlier, treat illness more precisely, and engage patients more efficiently than today’s healthcare system does. On top of this, AI/ML is expected to streamline business operations and restore sanity (and humanity) to the clinician experience”, he said.

He also noted that the major technology giants have ventured into healthcare and thus already changing the future of healthcare and promising more radical changes for the better in the nearest future.

“I will say you can’t liken this to a rolling stone that gathers no moss, but a raging powerful avalanche that won’t stop for anything in it’s path”, Akinbo stated.

On why the health care providers need to embrace technology, particularly, machine learning, Akinbo stressed: “machine learning undoubtedly helps people to work more creatively and efficiently. Basically, you too can delegate quite complex or monotonous work to the computer through Machine Learning-starting with scanning, saving and filing paper documents such as invoices up to organizing and editing images.”

He noted that the Foundation supports initiative that deploys ICT solve healthcare problems in Africa, listing the 10 common ways AI is changing healthcare now and will in the future to include: Managing Medical Records and Other Data, Doing Repetitive Jobs, Treatment Design, Digital Consultation Apps, Virtual Nurses, Medication Management, Drug Creation, Precision Medicine, Health Monitoring and Healthcare System Analysis.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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TETFund Seeks Increased Annual Research Funding of $1bn

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The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Thursday, urged the federal to increase its yearly funding for Research and Development (R&D) to $1 billion. This was as it hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his recent increase of the research grant from N5 billion to N7.5 billion.

Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, executive secretary of TETFund, speaking at the inauguration of TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee in Abuja, said massive investment in research would bring about the much-needed development in the country.

Bogoro also said it was time for the promulgation of a law that will bring into full place what he referred to as the “National R&D Foundation (NRDF)” to deepen research in the country.

Hear him:”To galvanize our vision towards making R&D the ace and game changer in our national development agenda, the need for an appropriate law to support the establishment of a National R&D Foundation (NRDF) cannot be overstated.

“We need a robust institutional framework and arrangement for the NRDF. I am recommending a minimum annual budgetary threshold of 1billion dollars as the funding portfolio for this Foundation.

“When we consider the inevitable benefits of R&D and the inevitable benefits of R&D and the socio-economic challenges in Nigeria, this amount begins to look like a drop of water in the ocean-population of 200 million people in 2020 and projected to become double in 10 years for now.”

Prof. Bogoro, who said the TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee is expected to come up with its own recommendation on the required amount that is suitable for efficient research activities in the country, called for a robust collaboration between researchers and the private sector to bring about all-round development in the country.

“It is envisaged that the private sector of the economy should pick the gauntlet to steamroll the lofty initiative by taking ownership of it,” he said.

Prof. Bogoro lauded the recent performance of Nigerian universities in the world’s ranking, saying TETFund intervention projects have continued to encourage such feats.

On his side, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, while inaugurating the committee, called on members to put their best to the work he described as ‘national assignment.’

Represented by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukuemeka Nwajuiba, Adamu said that continued investment in research would herald a rebirth of Nigeria.

“Nigeria voted us into power predicated on our being able to transform our national aspirations and make them a national achievement.

“It is in recognition of this direction that the Executive Secretary, TETFund, presented his vision of a research-driven nation and how to finance that ambition through the Board of Trustees (BOT).

“To a large extent, Nigeria’s future depends on you. You have been summoned to a national service that is not available to the rest of the 200 million population. It is a national calling that requires almost all of you,” he said.

On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Hon. Aminu Suleiman said the work of the committee would open the windows of opportunities to tackle various developmental challenges confronting the country.

Suleiman, represented by Hon. Ikenna Elezieanya, lamented the way Nigeria has shown less concern to research, saying that many developed countries invested in research and development and thus helped to improve on their economy.

He said, “Research is the gateway of innovation. It is said that while countries like the USA, Korea, and the like have been investing in research and development, we seem to show less concern.”

He encouraged beneficiaries to take good advantage of the initiative to solve problems for the betterment of the country.

Responding, the Chairman of the over 160-member TETFund’s R & D Committee, Prof. Njidda M. Gadzama, said the epoch-making event will transform the socio-economic sector by ensuring the robust promotion of cutting-edge innovations.

“We promise to carry out our assignment with commitment and diligence and this will result in the R & D Culture and R&D Foundation to drive industrialization of the country,” he said.

The standing committee whose membership is drawn from the academic, industry, and private sector, has the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Mansur Ahmed, as one of the three Vice Presidents.


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UNWTO, Google Host First Tourism Acceleration Program in Sub-Saharan Africa

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The COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately affected tourism, a sector that accounts for millions of jobs around the globe.

 

While no one can say with certainty when the sector will recover, people are starting to dream of getaways again – whether closer to home or to remote destinations.

 

As more and more people go online to search where and when they can travel, accelerating the digitisation of the tourism sector will be key to helping it adapt and recover.

 

This is why the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Google have partnered to create and host an online Acceleration Program for UNWTO Member States’ tourism ministers, top travel associations and tourism boards to further develop innovation and digital transformation skills.

 

Today, ahead of World Tourism Day, the organisations hosted the first UNWTO & Google Tourism Acceleration Program focused on insights from Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

 

Tourism is the backbone of many economies around the world. As data from UNWTO shows, tourism represents 9% of global trade for Africa and 1 in 10 jobs directly and indirectly. Moreover, the sector drives inclusive growth, as women make up 54% of the workforce.

 

Natalia Bayona, UNWTO director of Innovation, Digital Transformation and Investments, said “UNWTO is committed to helping Africa grow back stronger,”

 

“With the right policies, training and management in place, innovation and technology have the potential to foster new and better jobs and business opportunities for tourism in Africa while improving the overall wellbeing and prosperity of the region”.

 

Africa is home to 30% of the world’s population, adding hundreds of millions of new online users every year.

 

Google Search is one of the places Africans go when researching and booking travel.

 

Doron Avni, Google’s Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for Emerging Markets, said “We’re here to help the tourism sector recover from this unprecedented crisis and emerge stronger.

 

“Our travel data insights and tools can help tourism authorities identify and understand the barriers and drivers to visit travel destinations for better tourism planning.”

 

Below are some of the Nigeria travel data insights shared with participants in today’s session:

Nigeria

Since Nigeria announced its intention to reopen its borders to international travel on August 29th, search interest for travel has grown.

This slowdown presents an opportunity to rethink tourism, innovate and further develop the digital transformation of the sector so it can build the foundations for future sustainable growth.

 


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MultiChoice in collaboration with Celestial Tiger Entertainment Launches KIX on DStv

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Celestial Tiger Entertainment (CTE), the operator of the largest bouquet of pan-Asian channels dedicated to Asian entertainment, and MultiChoice Group, Africa’s leading entertainment company, has launched action movie channel KIX, on DStv.

KIX will launch on Premium, Compact Plus and Compact packages in Nigeria from 1st October 2020 at 6:00 pm WAT.

The launch of KIX marks CTE’s first foray into Africa.

Ofanny Choi, president of Celestial Tiger Entertainment, said, “We are very excited to be launching KIX on DStv in Africa with MultiChoice.

“Asian action entertainment has always resonated well with the audience worldwide, and we are proud to work with MultiChoice to bring this popular genre to viewers in Africa.

“With KIX’s proven success in Asia, we are confident we can deliver the best of action movies to our African audience.”

John Ugbe, Chief Executive Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria, said, “We at MultiChoice are delighted to announce the launch of this brand-new channel KIX, a channel that will expand our viewers content slate, giving them more variety and entertainment.

“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and new collaborations such as this, help us expand their viewing experience”.

Action fans can enjoy a high-octane blend of martial arts, action and thriller movies from the East and West on KIX, all presented in English.

Apart from the latest star-studded blockbuster premieres, KIX will also showcase never-seen-before movies from the various action genres, including kung fu classics from the legendary Shaw Brothers library, action comedies, adventure and fantasy action franchises, and action thrillers.

While fans of Asian action movies will see the legendary Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen and Bruce Lee in action, KIX also aims to present and delight viewers with movies featuring all other Asian action stars.

With all genres of action movies spanning from the 1960s to the present day, KIX is a one-stop-shop for all action movies entertainment throughout the years, with something for everyone. Viewers can now watch KIX and its catch-up programming anytime, anywhere, on DStv and DStv App!

 

 


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