Malaria Screener: a smartphone application for automated malaria screening

BMC Infect Dis. 2020 Nov 11;20(1):825. doi: 10.1186/s12879-020-05453-1.


Background: Light microscopy is often used for malaria diagnosis in the field. However, it is time-consuming and quality of the results depends heavily on the skill of microscopists. Automating malaria light microscopy is a promising solution, but it still remains a challenge and an active area of research. Current tools are often expensive and involve sophisticated hardware components, which makes it hard to deploy them in resource-limited areas.

Results: We designed an Android mobile application called Malaria Screener, which makes smartphones an affordable yet effective solution for automated malaria light microscopy. The mobile app utilizes high-resolution cameras and computing power of modern smartphones to screen both thin and thick blood smear images for P. falciparum parasites. Malaria Screener combines image acquisition, smear image analysis, and result visualization in its slide screening process, and is equipped with a database to provide easy access to the acquired data.

Conclusion: Malaria Screener makes the screening process faster, more consistent, and less dependent on human expertise. The app is modular, allowing other research groups to integrate their methods and models for image processing and machine learning, while acquiring and analyzing their data.

Keywords: Automated light microscopy; Convolutional neural network; Machine learning; Malaria; Smartphone application.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Data Accuracy
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Machine Learning
  • Malaria, Falciparum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / isolation & purification*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Smartphone*
  • Software