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Health Ministry to use AI in safe way in public health

To address gaps in India's AI ecosystem and realise its economic impact, the central government has prioritised building AI technology capabilities, said Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

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The Union Health Ministry is working towards using artificial intelligence (AI) in a safe and effective way in public health in the country, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said. He said in Lok Sabha that to address gaps in India’s AI ecosystem and realise its economic impact, the central government has prioritised building AI technology capabilities. “The potential of AI in public health is being explored in our country. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) is working towards using AI in a safe and effective way in public health in India,” he said during question hour.

Vardhan also said that few of the initiatives undertaken by the central government to use AI in public health are: Imaging Biobank for Cancer for which NITI Aayog with the Department of Bio-Technology (DBT) aims to build database of cancer-related radiology and pathology images of more than 20,000 profiles of cancer patients with focus on major cancers prevalent in India. He further added that the NITI Aayog is working on using AI for early detection of diabetic retinopathy.

The minister said that the NITI Aayog is currently in the process of developing institutional mechanism, funding framework and other such steps to realise India’s AI aspirations. He also mentioned that the NITI Aayog, after extensive consultation with various ministries and leading academicians, institutions, practitioners and industry players, has released India’s National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence in June 2018. “Through the strategy and subsequent initiatives, the key recommendations in AI are being pursued,” he said.

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