Innovative Medtech Startup Revolutionizes Cervical Cancer Detection in Africa

El Jadida, Morocco – The dawn casts its light upon the fortified city of El Jadida, where Pathologist Hicham El Attar begins his day’s work. Co-founder of DataPathology, El Attar meticulously analyzes 3D images to detect even the most subtle indicators of cervical cancer, a disease that tragically claimed his mother’s life.

Motivated by personal loss, El Attar embarked on a mission to provide accessible and effective solutions to combat cervical cancer, a pressing public health concern. Teaming up with Mohammed El Khannoussi, an expert in information systems and data consultancy, they launched DataPathology in 2020, a pioneering “Medtech” startup dedicated to medical pathology.

Utilizing cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and image processing, DataPathology revolutionizes cancer diagnosis by accelerating the process and minimizing the risk of errors. Their flagship solution, “AI-PAP,” streamlines the entire diagnostic journey, from sample collection to result interpretation, via a digital platform accessible to medical professionals across connected laboratories.

This user-friendly system empowers healthcare practitioners to conduct screenings efficiently, significantly increasing the number of patients screened. With the ability to process up to 250 tests per day, DataPathology’s platform marks a substantial advancement from the previous capacity of merely 10 tests daily.

Dr. El Attar emphasizes the economic and survival benefits of early detection, noting that a screening test costing USD 100 can prevent the need for treatments that may cost thousands of dollars. The ultimate goal, he asserts, is to make the screening test accessible to all, potentially saving countless lives.

While vaccination remains a crucial preventive measure, diagnosing cervical cancer poses challenges in Africa. Dr. El Attar advocates for collaborative strategies involving both public and private sectors, as well as international organizations, to overcome these hurdles effectively.

DataPathology’s groundbreaking approach has garnered widespread recognition, leading to plans for expansion across Africa. Supported by the Azur Innovation Fund and the African Development Bank, the startup raised USD 1 million in June 2023 to establish connected laboratories in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Dakar, Senegal.

With unwavering determination, Hicham El Attar vows to continue enhancing access to high-quality care, striving to detect cancers early and save lives across the continent.

Source: African Development Bank – DataPathology: Combining Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technology to Combat Cervical Cancer

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