SORA Technology will build and operate infrastructure related to public health and medical care utilizing drones and their flight management system in order to contribute to the realization of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Africa and Asia. The development of this infrastructure centered on drones will make it possible not only to transport goods safely, reliably and timely, but also to manage healthcare-related information between multiple bases. By 2025, we will overcome the problems of poor access to medical/health care and operational inefficiency due to distance and multiple processes. We are aiming to start the construction and operation of the infrastructure in Senegal in 2021.
SORA Technology Corporation
|Issues to be solved ||Improving access to medical/health care in rural and remote areas |
|Product / Technology / Service ||Drone, Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system |
|Approach ||PoC, product promotion |
|Target country / area ||Senegal (to be expanded to other countries in Africa and Asia in the future) |
|Target year for achievement ||2025 |
|Scale of the business ||PoC projects on a scale of 10 ~ 100 million yen |
|Partner ||Institut Pasteur |
Local telecommunication company
|Relevant target of |
3.8 Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.
9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
9.a Facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and technical support to African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States 18
17.16 Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries
In sub-Saharan African countries, even if symptoms accompanied by fever such as tuberculosis, malaria, Ebola virus disease (Ebola hemorrhagic fever), and novel coronavirus infection occur, prompt and appropriate examination and diagnosis are not made in many cases. For example, when specimens of patients with fever symptoms are transported by land to laboratories in urban areas, the specimens have often deteriorated when they arrive at the laboratory due to the long transportation time and rough road condition. It may not allow proper test. Without accurate examination and diagnosis, patients cannot receive appropriate treatment and there is also a risk of causing cluster infection and spread of infection. In addition, if emergency medicines are not always available in rural areas or remote areas in some countries, emergency response cannot be provided if road conditions deteriorate during the rainy season.
Senegal is one of them. Access to medical/health care is not good, especially in rural areas, such as the concentration of medical facilities and human resources in urban areas, insufficient inventory of medical supplies, and rough roads in the rainy season. The Senegalese government has formulated a national strategy for UHC, and recognized that it is necessary to improve not only economic and social access but also physical medical access (availability of medical services in rural and remote areas, etc.) in order to achieve UHC. The digital health strategy, Plan Stratégique Santé Digitale 2018-20231, of the Ministry of Health and Social Action (hereinafter referred to as the Ministry of Health) says that the Government aims to improve access to medicines, blood products, vaccines, etc. using ICT. In particular, it is clearly positioned as a concrete policy regarding improving diagnostic and medical access in remote areas by transporting test specimens by drone.
SORA Technology is a company established in June 2020 with the cooperation of Terra Drone, with the mission of contributing to solving social issues such as health care and emergency support by utilizing drones. Terra Drone is the world's number one industrial drone provider, commercializing and operating drone unmanned traffic management (UTM) systems. In addition to contributing to the development of aviation regulations in each country, we also have a track record of transporting medical-related goods using UTM. The UTM system enables programmed takeoffs and landings of drones, non-visual flight, networked transportation between multiple locations, avoidance of collisions with other manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, and integration with an inventory management system for medical supplies. It is expected that appropriate inventory management and on-demand transportation can be realized. SORA Technology has been in discussions with the Senegalese Ministry of Health, the Drone Association and other potential partners to help solve Senegal's healthcare access challenges by leveraging the UTM system.
Purpose of the project
In Senegal, we will introduce drones and UTM systems to realize transportation of goods between multiple bases at low cost and with easy operation, and solve the problems of access in the public health and medical fields. By transporting medical supplies safely, reliably and timely, we will contribute to ensuring the quality of test specimens and implementing prompt diagnosis and treatment, which will also reduce the risk of spreading infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and tuberculosis.
Detail of the Project (How can this project address global health challenges?)
We are planning a PoC project in Senegal's states where medical access is a major issue (Tambacounda, Matam, Kedougou, etc.). On the technical side, we will conduct flight tests of drones equipped with the UTM system and optimize the specifications of hardware (drone, takeoff and landing device) and software (operation system). From the perspective of public health and medical care, we will transport medical supplies such as test specimens, reagents, and pharmaceuticals in the actually optimized drone transportation infrastructure, and measure the effects. In parallel with these, we will discuss sustainable business plans with the Ministry of Health, the Civil Aviation Authority, local stakeholders, and private sector candidates for collaboration.
In the near future, we aim to create a versatile infrastructure that can transport various supplies such as vaccines, maternal and child health handbooks, and small medical devices. Besides, we will consider integration with a medical supplies inventory management system and a data business that contributes to infectious disease spread prediction based on information acquired by drone-mounted sensors (weather, geographic information, etc.).
Timeline or milestones by the achievement of the commitment, KPI for monitoring activities
The PoC project will be started from 2021, and the service will be deployed at least three bases in Senegal. By 2025, we plan to expand our business in Senegal and horizontally to other regions in Africa and Asia. In developed countries, alternative transportation methods are well developed and strict laws and regulations are required, so we are drawing milestones of reimporting the model cultivated in developing countries to developed countries.
Precondition for achieving the commitment
- Obtaining licenses from local authorities (Ministry of Health, Civil Aviation Authority, etc.)
- Acquisition of external funds to carry out the PoC project (10 ~ 100 million yen)
Role and responsibility of each partner
- Institut Pasteur: Advisory and sharing knowledge to establish public health drone infrastructure. Partnership in the PoC and business operation based on the Institut Pasteur network in Asia and Africa.
- KRANTH SARL: Operation support in Senegal
- Terra Drone: Advisory and technology support of drones and UTM system
- Local telecommunication company: Providing telecom networks and advisory of business operation in Africa
1. Plan Stratégique Santé Digitale 2018-2023, Ministère de la santé et de l'Action Socialehttp://www.sante.gouv.sn/sites/default/files/plsantedigitale.pdf
2. Drone Service Providers Ranking 2020, DRONEII.COMhttps://droneii.com/drone-service-provider-ranking-2020
Company: SORA Technology Corporation
Person in charge: Shinako ANDO
E-mail: Shinako.ando "at" sora-tech.com
(Please replace "at” with @)
editor：All contents including photos provided by SORA Technology and KRANTH SARL