Hello good people of Nigeria and welcome to our Rebrand Nigeria Ambassador’s series.

Do you know that there are young Nigerians who are internationally acclaimed artificial intelligence expert? What if you were told that a Nigerian and his team created an app that captures a baby’s cries, analyses it and detests what the problem could be?

Well, meet Charles Onu, the founder of “Ubenwa”, literally translates to Baby’s cry in Igbo language, is an application that captures a baby’s cries, translates it and makes prognosis on what the problem could be. The goal of Ubenwa is to address early health challenges and provide health care within the first two years of a child’s life.

The result from the prognosis of the app could be hunger, sleep, pain or early symptoms of diseases like cerebral palsy, deafness, paralysis and asphyxia which is the third highest cause of infant deaths. Through this application, these diseases can be detected early enough before they can do any damage to the baby’s brain.

Ubenwa is the outcome of over 2 years of research and development conducted in hospitals in Nigeria. According to Onu, the Artificial Intelligence solution app has achieved over 95% prediction accuracy in trials with nearly 1,400 pre-recorded baby cries.

For the diagnosis of birth asphyxia from a newborn’s cry, it is faster compared to blood test based detection. Compared to the current method using a blood gas analyser, Ubenwa is non-invasive (requiring only cry rather than blood), low-cost (about 95% cheaper than clinical alternative),

This innovation has won several awards, including the WHO Top 30 Africa Health Innovators in March 2019.

Onu holds a PhD in computer science at McGill University and MILA – the Québec Artificial Intelligence Institute, Canada. His research sits at the intersection of artificial intelligence and healthcare. He holds a master’s degree in computer science from McGill and a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Computer Engineering from Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. He has over 6 years experience in the development of machine learning software for real-world health care problems such as breast cancer patient care and intensive care unit (ICU) monitoring. 

His focus areas are onartificial intelligence, birth asphyxia, low and middle-income countries, mobile technology, social innovator, software engineering

Charles Onu cofounded Fisher Foundation Africa in 2013. 

Charles was awarded Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) 2016

He is a fellow of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation, 2017

Nigerians are proud of Charles Onu’s achievements in artificial intelligence and we celebrate this genius as a rebrand Nigeria ambassador.


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