AI for Health Care and Infrastructure Developments

Having been in the healthcare industry for over 20 years, CEO of Delft Imaging, Guido Geerts, boasts highly of working in Africa. He believes from a European context, Africa is a tremendously interesting continent with a variety of possibilities.

26th of October 2021 Member Spotlight

Merging impact with profit, Delft Imaging is a social enterprise focused on screening tuberculosis (TB) using x-rays and artificial intelligence (AI). From backpack x-rays to complete labs, Delft Imaging enables mass TB screenings which in turn aid with infrastructure and health care developments. As such the organisation works in Africa and Asia, together with international organisations, governments and NGO’s. 

“What I find interesting in Africa, are the challenges and the different environments which allow for endless innovative possibilities”, explained Mr. Geerts. A key example of a successful innovation can be illustrated by the ORIO project. Working together with the Dutch and Ghanian governments, 50 X-ray systems in mobile clinic containers were placed all over Ghana. 

In addition to screening for TB, the AI facilitated X-rays were also multifunctional, meaning they could be used for other purposes. This allowed for a general health care increase and helped stimulate the development of the healthcare infrastructure in various cities in Ghana. Due to the success of the project, doing something similar in Sudan is currently being discussed with the Dutch government. 

As Delft Imaging and their accomplishments have continued to grow, in 2015 a Ghanian Subsidiary was established. In charge of installation and service projects, Delft Imaging Ghana is composed of 20 Ghanaian Xray and IT engineers, as well as soon to be software developers. Though the training for installation and service projects was originally done in the Netherlands, these operations are now fully conducted in Ghana. “When starting with the Ghanaian team, we saw that it worked out perfectly, and it’s much more rewarding to stimulate this kind of capacity in Africa”,  Mr. Geerts stated. “There is so much potential in the African youth. We hope to stimulate other companies in the Netherlands to look at Africa and invest in the talent pool”, he continued. 

Renewed avenues for health care innovations

“By 2030 we sincerely hope we will be unemployed when it comes to TB screening. As part of the Sustainable Development Goals we all aim to end TB by 2030,” said Mr. Geerts. The goal is then to solve another problem by diversifying into new health care activities with innovation and impact at the forefront. A new innovative business concept Delft Imaging has diversified into, is the recently created BabyChecker. Focused on maternal health, the BabyChecker is an ultrasound device that uses AI to announce the age of the foetus, the baby’s due date, its position and information about the placenta. 

In addition to diversifying into other health care solutions, Mr. Geerts also hopes to continue promoting and marketing Africa. The innovative mindset and approach when working in Africa tend to have overflowing effects for the western world as well. “When working in low resource countries – the interesting spinoff is that we come to solutions that are eventually and probably interesting for the western environment”, explained Mr. Geerts. “What we develop for Africa can be used for western contexts as well ” he concluded.

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