DOH employs use of AI to help detect cases of tuberculosis
MANILA, Philippines — Artificial intelligence (AI) is now being used to help detect active tuberculosis (TB) cases, said Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa on Tuesday.
While Herbosa said that prevention is the first step against the disease, case detection is the next. The Department of Health (DOH) chief explained that TB can be diagnosed through a sputum test, an x-ray or a genexpert test for those who are multiple drug resistant.
“We also started to implement other things like artificial intelligence diagnosis with radiology, so these are things that can pick up, through the x-ray, the computer already diagnoses the presence or absence of TB, improving our case detection,” said Herbosa during a press briefing.
“We’re using AI, artificial intelligence, that can look at an x-ray and already tell you ‘possibly TB’, so then you can do the next step, confirmatory genexpert,” he added.
This is part of the government’s effort to stomp out TB in the country. Herbosa said that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had instructed him to lessen TB cases.
“One of the directives of the President to me when he appointed me last month actually was to address the problem of TB,” Herbosa said.
According to Herbosa, the Philippines is the fourth country in the world with the most TB cases.
“Ako, ang personal target ko, if you ask me, is to get us out of the top 10 by the end of the term. If we go down to 11, I’ll be happy,” said Herbosa.
Herbosa also said that the DOH has deployed the use of instructional video materials to assist people in administering the TB therapy, so that the patient does not need to go to the health center for several months.
“It’s about literacy, health literacy and the social stigma that you’re going to the TB center,” said Herbosa.