Welthungerhilfe, a German private aid organisation, Thursday said it has partnered Microsoft to launch a pilot project in India for using artificial intelligence to tackle the issue of malnutrition among children.
Welthungerhilfe has developed a 'Child Growth Monitor App' that can detect malnutrition and enable health workers identify and provide care to children struggling from chronic undernourishment. The solution is a cloud-based smartphone application that is powered by Microsoft's Azure (cloud) and AI services.
India is the first country to pilot this project.
"Welthungerhilfe's India-based partner 'Action Against Hunger' is scanning 10,000 children under the age of five years across Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan by March 2019. Twelve teams of 150 trained health workers have been provided app-enabled smartphones to collect data of children," Microsoft said in a statement.
Using an infrared sensor available in smartphones, the Child Growth Monitor App directly captures 3D measurements of a child's height, body volume and weight ratio, and loads the data onto Azure Cloud. The scans are then evaluated by nutritionists and IT specialists using Azure AI solutions, analysing the child's dietary health.
This data can further be used by field workers to work out nutrition plans and provide children with vitamin-rich provisions based on their requirements. The Child Growth Monitor App has a learning algorithm, which gets smarter with each measurement, Microsoft said.
In India, front-line health workers are responsible for tracking 40 to 60 kids within their intervention areas, but they don't have the training or resources to accurately measure the children to assess their overall nutrition, Shivangi Kaushik, Program Manager for Action Against Hunger, said.
"What's more, those same workers struggle to maintain the equipment needed to capture heights and weights. Having Child Growth Monitor on board will hugely impact the early identification of children suffering from malnutrition, thereby reducing the treatment time," she added.
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