Microscopy analysis of blood films is an essential step in medicine to determine if blood cells and platelets are normal in appearance and number, distinguish between different types of white blood cells, and assess their relative percentages. For disease diagnosis, microscopy helps identify a range of deficiencies, diseases, and disorders involving blood cell production, function, and destruction. For monitoring treatment to existing conditions, microscopy enables clinicians to track blood cell production and maturity in diseases such as leukemia, during chemo/radiation therapy, or in evaluating hemoglobin variants.
However, microscopy is a highly manual process requiring expensive equipment costing $5000 on average and extensive training to identify and quantify infections in blood cells visually. These constraints limit microscopy analysis to large hospitals, making it inaccessible to patients in rural areas.
Malaria is caused by parasites that are transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes. With about 200 million cases worldwide, the lack of access to treatment leads to 400,000 deaths every year. In Africa alone 86,000,000 people have no access to diagnostic equipment.