KENYA — Jacaranda Health, a renowned non-profit organization based in Kenya, has joined the ranks of the select 15 entities across Africa chosen to receive a substantial portion of Google.org’s US$25 million funding initiative.
This initiative, dedicated to advancing digital health projects, signifies a momentous leap in the quest to revolutionize maternal and newborn healthcare in Africa.
Jay Patel, the Head of Technology at Jacaranda Health, enthusiastically shared that they have been granted a generous sum of US$1.2 million, alongside additional support from Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org.
This funding infusion serves a noble cause: to extend lifesaving AI-driven support to underserved mothers not only in Kenya but also across the expansive landscape of Sub-Saharan Africa.
In a press release, Mr. Patel underscored the significance of this grant, hailing it as a major milestone in their mission to empower more mothers in Kenya.
He emphasized their commitment to achieving this through their digital solution known as PROMPTS. This innovative tool aims to facilitate safe maternal health, ensuring that every newborn receives a secure and healthy start in life.
PROMPTS, powered by AI, serves as a beacon of hope for new and expectant mothers. It leverages the reach of free SMS messages to rapidly provide health services during and after pregnancy.
Its hallmark feature lies in its ability to offer targeted referrals for potentially high-risk cases, ensuring timely interventions when needed the most. Mr. Patel hailed this project as Jacaranda’s next big leap in the realm of AI innovation.
“With Google’s generous funding,” Mr. Patel declared, “Jacaranda’s 100% Kenyan technology team will embark on a pioneering endeavor.
“They will develop and deploy a first-of-its-kind generative AI model capable of delivering context-sensitive information to women in multiple African languages and dialects. Moreover, it will swiftly detect life-threatening risks before they become insurmountable.”
Jacaranda Health’s ambition knows no bounds. They aspire to reach out to at least three million women across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Their vision extends to creating a blueprint for harnessing the full potential of AI in maternal and newborn healthcare support across the entire continent.
They plan to achieve this by leveraging their open-source model, thereby enabling local teams to customize solutions according to their specific contexts and maximize impact.
Mr. James Manyika, Google’s Senior Vice President of Research, Technology and Society, lauded the rigorous selection process that led to Jacaranda Health’s inclusion among the 15 organizations receiving support.
He revealed that these projects would be open-sourced, embodying Google’s commitment to using AI as a catalyst for progress towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
“Each of the 15 selected organizations,” Mr. Manyika stated, “shares our vision of harnessing AI’s potential to expedite progress toward these global goals. Each organization brings its unique expertise to the table, collectively driving meaningful change.”