Published on February 8th, 2018 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Bosch Announces Collaboration with Yonah to Help Solve Healthcare Challenges in Papua New Guinea
Bosch announced today its collaboration with Yonah. Yonah is a student- initiated project group started by alumni and students of NUS that seeks to overcome access barriers to healthcare in rural regions through autonomous technologies. As part of the partnership, Bosch has offered financial support, product and technology sponsorship, as well as on-going consulting, training, and technical advice.
The project was inspired by the founding team’s trip to Papua New Guinea in 2016, where they discovered cargo logistics challenges caused by the difficult terrain and lack of road infrastructure. This also inhibited the transport of medical supplies to rural villages, causing a surge in prices for transportation and hindering supervisory medical visits by health community workers. Yonah was thus founded to help time-sensitive medical supplies reach the communities that need them.
“From our hospital partner at Papua New Guinea, we learned that health workers conducting immunisation patrols at the various rural health centres have to travel 20 to 30 kilometres on foot, taking up to three days to cover,” explained Ong Tian Chang, Yonah’s co-founder. “A routine immunisation patrol covering multiple sites could even take up to 12 days, which was definitely too long for vaccines to reach the provinces. It was then that we realised the potential of utilising autonomous drones in getting vaccines delivered.”
Enabling meaningful projects through innovation
Bosch came to hear of the Yonah project and decided to come on board as Yonah’s technology partner, enabling student volunteers through sponsoring financial resources, power tools, as well as expert mentoring amongst others.
With the team working on a project trial to implement a cargo delivery service system in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, Bosch tools and technologies such as temperature guns and drill presses are utilised to build operationally- ready drone infrastructures to service two dozen remote sites with time-sensitive medical supplies. Additionally, Bosch provides on-going support to the team, with its technical experts providing regular training sessions to ensure the effective use of its tools for the project.
“Making a difference and enabling better living through innovation has always been close to the heart of what we do and believe in at Bosch,” says Martin Hayes, President of Bosch Southeast Asia. “At Bosch, we are committed to addressing social concerns and enabling sustainability through the solutions we offer. We are very glad to be supporting Yonah and to be sharing our technologies with its passionate team. They are a perfect example of the next generation who are effecting positive change in global communities with their skills and educational know-how”.
Sustaining transformation and the way forward for Yonah
With the completion of the cargo drone infrastructure, Yonah is now setting its sights on local field testing and launching actual flights to deliver vaccinations, in the rural villages of Papua New Guinea and beyond.
“Even as Yonah seeks to deploy more of the drone technologies in other rural areas to limit vaccine-preventable diseases, Bosch hopes to continue supporting their vision to make a difference through technology and innovation,” adds Martin Hayes.