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Govt plans to leverage Artificial Intelligence in public health

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In a bid to improve clinical outcome in public health, the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is planning to leverage Artificial Intelligence in a safe and effective way.

While replying to a question in Lok Sabha, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the central government has prioritised building AI technology capabilities in order to address gaps in India’s AI ecosystem and realise its economic impact.

“The potential of AI in public health is being explored in our country. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) is working towards using AI in a safe and effective way in public health in India,” he said during Question Hour.

Vardhan also highlighted some of the AI based initiatives including Imaging Biobank for cancer undertaken by the central government in public health.

For Imaging Biobank, NITI Aayog with Department of Bio-Technology (DBT) aims to build a database of cancer-related radiology and pathology images of more than 20,000 profiles of cancer patients with focus on major cancers prevalent in India, he informed.

He said the NITI Aayog was working on using AI for early detection of diabetic retinopathy.

He added that the NITI Aayog is currently in the process of developing institutional mechanism, funding framework and other such steps to realise India’s AI aspirations.

After consultation with various ministries and leading academicians, institutions, practitioners and industry players, NITI Aayog released India’s National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence in June 2018, he said.

“Through the strategy and subsequent initiatives, the key recommendations in AI are being pursued,” he said.

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