Eritrea joins forces with Dutch AI-Company to combat TB

Nijmegen, December 2019 – Is it possible to screen thousands of people for tuberculosis using artificial intelligence in a country where internet barely exists? It is with CAD4TB. As of October, this innovative software is used to screen people for TB in even the remotest areas of Eritrea. It has been developed by Dutch company Thirona in collaboration with the also Dutch Delft Imaging Systems. CAD4TB is the most validated and widely used artificial intelligence solution for TB-detection worldwide. Every day, it is used to screen 7.000 people for this disease that kills 1.6 million people a year – that is more than die from AIDS and malaria combined.

TB tracked down

The Eritrean Ministry of Health gives high priority to the elimination of deadly diseases, but the local infrastructure is largely underdeveloped and internet is scarcely available. It makes TB-screening challenging and time-consuming. Computer-Aided Detection for Tuberculosis (CAD4TB) is a software programme that analyses digital chest x-rays. In situations with a working internet connection, the chest image is analysed by the CAD4TB server in the cloud. In places where an internet connection is not available or not reliable, images can be analysed directly on-site. With this portable solution, TB can be tracked down and treated anywhere.

Virtual doctor

Guido Geerts, CEO of Thirona, about the necessity of implementing artificial intelligence in combating TB in Eritrea: “In Eritrea, only 1% of the population has access to the internet, radiologists are scarce and large parts of the country are extremely difficult to reach. The big advantage of CAD4TB is the option to use it completely offline, so we can professionally screen people even in the most remote areas. Within twenty seconds the x-ray image is analysed and the likelihood of someone having TB determined. It is a virtual doctor that has scientifically been proven to be more accurate than an expert human reader.

About Thirona

Thirona is an innovative Dutch company specialised in artificial intelligence for medical image analysis. By creating intuitive and user-friendly products, it bridges the gap between academic ideas and clinical use. Thirona supports medical professionals in their daily tasks working with thoracic CT-scans (LungQ), chest x-rays (CAD4TB) and retinal scans (RetCAD). Thirona was established in 2014 and has grown out to be an important player in the medical field with innovative AI-solutions used in over forty countries worldwide. For more information see