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Websites We Love: Ubenwa.Ai

The world is on the verge of being taken over by Artificial Intelligence (AI). We are literally surrounded by AI in our everyday lives and this is only going to progress as time goes on.

At the moment, AI is benefitting the world in so many ways. Its influence can be felt all over the world and Nigeria is no exception. At least, that’s what Ubenwa.Ai, a Nigerian AI solution startup, has demonstrated with its brilliant innovation for healthcare.

Ubenwa is on the mission to save the lives of babies through its machine learning system. The system works by analysing the cries of babies to detect warning signs of baby asphyxia, one of the most life-threatening neonatal conditions.

The World Health Organisation has established that childbirth asphyxia (the loss of oxygen to a newborn baby during birth) is a leading cause of the death of about 4 million infants every year.  

Seeing how crucial it was to solve this predicament, Charles Onu, founder of Ubenwa, took the route of deep learning and leveraged his knowledge as an engineer to provide a solution.

How It All Began: Taking The Path Of Machine Learning 

Charles Onu first learned about asphyxia during his undergraduate studies several years ago. He came up with the genius concept for Ubenwa.Ai (meaning “cry of a baby” in Igbo) after discovering from a research study that there was a connection between the voice and asphyxia.

In his words,

It was this work that led me into machine learning. My natural inclination was to ask, ‘Is there something I can do about it?”

-Charles Onu

He knew that pattern identification, an engineering application in the field of machine learning, was key to effectively analysing a newborn’s cry.

As a result, he founded Ubenwa with his software engineering lead Innocent Udeogu and after extensive research, he developed a machine learning algorithm, that would diagnose asphyxia by analysing infant’s cries within 10 seconds.

Achievements and Milestones

In its early stage, Ubenwa is said to have accurately predicted the presence of asphyxia in 85% of the cases it has analysed, which is undeniably a high-success rate.

Ubenwa aims to be a non-invasive cheaper alternative to the current method of diagnosing asphyxia which entails drawing blood from a baby immediately after birth.

The goal is to a mobile application that will be made available to developing countries. This app is already in the works and will probably begin its test-run in January 2020, with Nigeria, as its first target.

With the ingenuity of Ubenwa and the success it has achieved, one believes it can have a major impact on Nigeria’s healthcare system and be helpful in the detection of other infant conditions.


All Africa

Featured Image Source: Twitter – @ubenwa_ai

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Samuel Okoruwa

My name is Samuel Okoruwa. I am an ardent researcher, reading is life and writing is fun.

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