Penang becomes first state in M'sia to use AI to combat dengue (Updated)

20 Dec 2017 / 17:38 H.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang will be embracing the Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to fight the dengue menace after the state recorded more than 2,500 infections with 13 deaths over the past decade.
The state has tied up with an American hi-tech firm called the Artificial Intelligence for Medical Epidemiology (AIME) Inc for one year with the aim of drastically reducing the number of dengue infections and deaths through the utilisation of the latest electronic applications.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng told a press conference that this game changing surveillance system which the state has appropriately named "Crush Aedes Totally (CAT)" will offer advance warning to the public health authorities on dengue outbreak epicentres.
"With an early warning system in place, the state can fog suspected areas earlier and faster to check the outbreak of aedes mosquito bites and to eradicate the dengue carriers effectively. Mosquitoes are survivors, but we must use the new age tech to outsmart them," Lim said.
CAT works in essence as a digitalised tracking system using an AI computer which can learn by itself to compute big data analysis and to record the patterns of where dengue cases were spreading before making future predictions on which areas the aedes mosquitoes will bite next.
It is a threesome approach with big data analysis, robotics, AI, cloud computing, e-commerce and the internet of things (IoT) in the background.
AIME will be working closely with the Penang Health Department to execute CAT throughout the state.
CAT has begun its monitoring work as of Tuesday and it will be for a period of 12 months, Lim said after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between AIME president and founder Rainier Mallol and State Secretary Datuk Seri Farizan Darus here.
Penang will be spending RM423,333 for the pilot project and if successful, it can be adopted on nationwide by the Health Ministry.
State Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said the technology was actually pioneered by a Malaysian doctor Dr S. Dhesi Baha Raja, who developed AIME and had it tested with a good degree of success in Rio De Janeiro (Brazil) and Manila (Philippines).
It will help the medical practitioners by providing them with an earlier warning system and on how to use CAT on where is the probable next dengue outbreak, allowing for the effective deployment of resources to fumigate the habitats which are breeding grounds of aedes.
"Essentially, Penang wants to save lives as dengue is a serious disease," said Lim.

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