Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa



Respiratory diseases, including active tuberculosis (TB), asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), constitute substantial global health challenges, necessitating timely and accurate diagnosis for effective treatment and management.


This research seeks to develop and evaluate a noninvasive user-friendly artificial intelligence (AI)–powered cough audio classifier for detecting these respiratory conditions in rural Tanzania.


This is a nonexperimental cross-sectional research with the primary objective of collection and analysis of cough sounds from patients with active TB, asthma, and COPD in outpatient clinics to generate and evaluate a noninvasive cough audio classifier. Specialized cough sound recording devices, designed to be nonintrusive and user-friendly, will facilitate the collection of diverse cough sound samples from patients attending outpatient clinics in 20 health care facilities in the Shinyanga region. The collected cough sound data will undergo rigorous analysis, using advanced AI signal processing and machine learning techniques. By comparing acoustic features and patterns associated with TB, asthma, and COPD, a robust algorithm capable of automated disease discrimination will be generated facilitating the development of a smartphone-based cough sound classifier. The classifier will be evaluated against the calculated reference standards including clinical assessments, sputum smear, GeneXpert, chest x-ray, culture and sensitivity, spirometry and peak expiratory flow, and sensitivity and predictive values.


This research represents a vital step toward enhancing the diagnostic capabilities available in outpatient clinics, with the potential to revolutionize the field of respiratory disease diagnosis. Findings from the 4 phases of the study will be presented as descriptions supported by relevant images, tables, and figures. The anticipated outcome of this research is the creation of a reliable, noninvasive diagnostic cough classifier that empowers health care professionals and patients themselves to identify and differentiate these respiratory diseases based on cough sound patterns.


Cough sound classifiers use advanced technology for early detection and management of respiratory conditions, offering a less invasive and more efficient alternative to traditional diagnostics. This technology promises to ease public health burdens, improve patient outcomes, and enhance health care access in under-resourced areas, potentially transforming respiratory disease management globally.

Publication (Name of Journal)

JMIR Research Protocols