New Telegraph

December 11, 2023

Healthcare: Google targets Nigeria, others for improved research, care

Under a new project arrangement, renowned internet search engine, Google, has opened up on plans to make funding available for research to advance the course of healthcare in Nigeria.


In a report posted on its website, the search engine giant said the project to be worked on in partnership with Google. org and Google’s University Relations programme would help academics and non-profits develop AI techniques that can improve people’s lives — especially in underserved communities that haven’t yet benefited from advances in AI.



“They reported on the impact of six such projects in 2020. And today, Google is sharing 30 new projects that will receive funding and support as  part of their AI for Social Good programme,” the report said. It noted further that “during the application process, Googlers arranged workshops involving more than 150 teams to discuss potential projects.


Following the workshop meetings, project teams made up of NGOs and academics submitted proposals which Google experts reviewed.


“The result is a promising range of projects spanning seventeen countries across Asia- Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa — including India, Uganda, Nigeria, Japan and Australia— focused on agriculture, conservation and public health.



“In agriculture, this includes research to help farmer collectives with market intelligence and use data to improve crop and irrigation planning for smallholder farmers. In public health, we are backing projects that will enable targeted public health interventions, and will help community health workers to forecast health risks in countries such as Kenya, Inreleased  dia and Uganda.


We’re also supporting research to better forecast the need for critical resources like vaccines and care, including in Nigeria.


And in conservation, we’re supporting research to help understand animal population changes, such as the effect of poaching on elephants, and gorillas.


Other projects will help reduce conservation conflict and poaching, including human-elephant conflict in Kenya. “Each project team will receive funding, technical contributions from Google and access to computational resources.


Academics in this program will be recognized as “Impact Scholars” for their contributions towards advancing research for social good.” It noted that Google had seen the impact these kinds of projects can make.


“One of the non-profit leaders supported by the programme last year, ARMMAN founder Dr. Aparna Hegde, has received AI research support from IIT Madras and Google Research to improve maternal and child health outcomes in India. The team is building a predictive model to prevent expectant mothers dropping out of supportive telehealth outreach programmes.


“Results so far show AI could enable ARMMAN to increase the number of women engaged through the program by 50 per cent, and they have received a second grant to enable them to build on this progress,” the report added. Dr. Hegde says the programme is “already showing encouraging results — and I am confident that this partnership will bring immense benefits in the future.


“Congratulations to all the recipients of this round’s support. Google is looking forward to continuing to nurture the AI for Social Good community, bringing together experts from diverse backgrounds with the common goal of advancing AI to improve lives around the world,” the report noted.

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