LONDON, United Kingdom — In the heart of Accra, Ghana, Darlington Akogo leads MinoHealth AI Labs, a pioneering company specializing in artificial intelligence for health care applications. Established in 2016, the lab’s mission is to use deep learning to enhance diagnoses for diseases ranging from diabetes to breast cancer. Under Akogo’s guidance, Accra has evolved into a thriving hub for AI innovation, demonstrating the potential of a tech-savvy entrepreneurial community. This success is fuelled by a strong partnership with Global Lab Ghana, a STEM-focused group that has cultivated over 1,000 young AI engineers, data scientists, and enthusiasts. An example of a good use of AI is revolutionizing health care in Ghana.
Darlington Akogo’s journey in health care technology began with a frustrating hospital visit in Ghana. This experience is frequent in Ghana since the country currently grapples with one of the highest rates of health care worker emigration in sub-Saharan Africa. More than half of the country’s doctors and nearly a quarter of its nurses, originally trained in Ghana, now practice abroad. This issue has been exacerbated by a global shortage of health care labor, especially in developed nations, a situation that the COVID-19 pandemic has further strained.
Recognizing the need for improved medical systems, he initially focused on creating an appointment system. However, he soon realized the more pressing issue was the scarcity of health care professionals, particularly radiologists. This insight led him to visualize a scenario where AI is revolutionizing health care in Ghana, starting by delving into machine learning to develop an AI system capable of diagnosing conditions from X-rays.
MinoHealth AI Labs’ impact on health care is substantial, with notable breakthroughs in fields like nutrition, 3D bioprinting, cancer research, and immunology. Collaborations with prestigious institutions, like London’s Imperial College, have enabled the lab to apply AI and digital diagnostics in the fight against diseases like malaria. The lab’s achievements have garnered vital support from organizations such as the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and the U.K. government, solidifying its position in the global AI landscape.
The lab’s innovative strides extend beyond health care, encompassing partnerships with KaraAgro AI, another of Akogo’s ventures focused on addressing food security and climate challenges. Notably, MinoHealth AI Labs has developed a platform that surpasses radiologists in screening medical images for chest conditions, benefiting facilities and clinicians in Ghana and over 20 other countries worldwide.
Looking forward, Akogo envisions a future where Africa—with its vibrant youth population empowered by AI—can emulate China’s industrial transformation. With a growing presence in AI governance and thriving communities, Africa is poised to emerge as a dominant force in the global AI arena within the next five years.
Akogo’s endeavors in AI are revolutionizing health care in Ghana, but he went beyond that. His creation, the Mino Health system, is now in use worldwide, offering rapid chest condition diagnoses. With support from organizations like Nvidia, GIZ and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Akogo and his team are at the forefront of using AI to augment limited clinician resources, reshaping health care practices. In the face of global poverty, Akogo’s innovative work represents a beacon of hope for more accessible and effective health care solutions.
– Christian Teruel