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AI-Powered Mobile Clinic Unveiled in the Philippines

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In a significant stride toward combating tuberculosis (TB) in remote areas of the Cordillera region, the Department of Health regional office (DOH-CAR) has received a cutting-edge mobile tuberculosis clinic. Donated by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) through its ACCESS (Advance Client-Centered Care and Expanding Sustainable Service) for the TB Project, this mobile van brings state-of-the-art technology to the forefront of TB detection.

Image credits: CCD/PIA CAR

The latest addition to the region’s healthcare arsenal harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) to screen possible TB cases efficiently. During the turnover ceremony at the Baguio Convention and Cultural Center, PBSP Programme Director Arnyl Araneta emphasised the urgent need for early TB detection and treatment in the Philippines, which ranks fourth globally in TB-related deaths. With this advanced mobile clinic, PBSP aims to extend support not only in Cordillera but also across the country.

DOH-CAR Director Dr. Amelita Pangilinan expressed confidence in the mobile TB clinic’s ability to fulfil its purpose, bringing essential services closer to the people. Powered by AI technology, the clinic is equipped to detect TB and other respiratory conditions swiftly. Dr. Pangilinan assured the community of DOH-CHD-CAR’s commitment to maximising the van’s potential and ensuring comprehensive TB services throughout the region.

Despite challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, access issues, and limited resources at the local government level, TB screening remains a top priority in Cordillera. Dr Jennifer Joyce Pira, DOH-CAR disease prevention and control cluster head, emphasised the critical role of screening in TB eradication efforts. As the region embraces this innovative approach to healthcare, early detection facilitated by AI technology promises to significantly impact TB prevention and treatment outcomes.

A major collaboration between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the National TB Control Programme of the Department of Health (DOH) has introduced an advanced Artificial Intelligence-assisted (AI) Computer Aided Detection (CAD) technology to revolutionise Tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis and prevention efforts in the Philippines.

The initiative, which concluded in July 2023, piloted this innovative technology in Muntinlupa in partnership with the local government and Putatan Health Center. The results were remarkable, with nearly 400 TB suspects identified, out of which 32 cases of Pulmonary TB were confirmed. The utilisation of CAD technology not only expedited the diagnosis process but also facilitated early detection and initiation of treatment, thus potentially saving numerous lives.

This cutting-edge technology represents a significant stride in addressing the persistent challenge of undetected TB cases, particularly in a country where TB incidence ranks the highest globally, resulting in a staggering thousands of deaths annually.

This collaboration underscores JICA’s commitment to introducing innovative solutions and new technologies as part of its Official Development Assistance (ODA) strategy, aimed at addressing critical development challenges and fostering sustainable growth.

The Philippines is harnessing cutting-edge technology to enhance healthcare outcomes and address critical health challenges. By leveraging advanced technologies such as AI, the Philippines aims to expedite diagnosis processes, improve patient outcomes, and strengthen its healthcare infrastructure to provide accessible and quality healthcare services to all its citizens.

In a significant step towards achieving Universal Health Care (UHC) in Pampanga, local leaders and health experts have spearheaded a tech-driven overhaul of the province’s health system. With the inauguration of the “Pampanga United for Streamlining Health towards UHC” initiative, marked by a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing ceremony involving 21 mayors and health professionals, the province aims to leverage technology to revolutionise healthcare accessibility and delivery.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire commended the proactive approach of the provincial government, highlighting the pivotal role of technology-enabled primary healthcare in advancing UHC goals and bridging healthcare gaps.


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