On December 24th, 2021, the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI), and Njala University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SORA Technology, to support the government of Sierra Leone’s initiative to improve health care delivery through the use of drone technology, for the delivery of life-saving medical supplies.
The MoU, titled “ESTABLISHMENT OF MEDICAL DRONE INFRASTRUCTURE IN SIERRA LEONE”, solidified the common interest in improving health care outcomes, and the use of digital technologies to catapult the country’s human capital development.
DSTI’s Project Coordinator and 4IR Lead, David Manley, had stressed on collaborating with multiple partners to create enabling environments to seed and test innovations and develop human capacity to effectively engage with these technologies in a Sierra Leone centric way.
Since the inked MoU, all parties are in discussions geared towards establishing a national Drone and Data Academy, to build local capacity, as well as skills development for young people in the areas of aerial imagery analysis, building and operating drones.
“Since the inception of the drones project at DSTI, the vision has always been to create the building blocks for the growth of the national drone ecosystem. With the recognition that the players in that space are many and their interests are varied, collaborations like this are all the more necessary for the growth and strengthening of the ecosystem.”- David Manley.
A research team from SORA Tech has also been utilizing the drone corridor, located at Njala University’s Mokonde campus, for testing and conducting further research on Malaria Control so that they can support the progress of Malaria Control Strategic Plan of Sierra Leone.
“We SORA Technology have been providing a new service that can detect and treat high-risk breeding sites of mosquito larvae, using drone and AI. The MoU with DSTI and Njala University strongly accelerated the project, from speedy tests for technical details to collaboration in building original AI. Localization of our technical knowledge is one of our top priorities for sustainable operations of our service, through which we would like to contribute to encourage various innovations and improved healthcare systems in Sierra Leone.” – Masaki Umeda, Africa Business Lead.
SORA continues their ongoing collaboration with HealthGrid Sierra Leone to provide access to electricity, internet connectivity, and other essential services to off-grid health facilities in the country, organized by USAID Global Development Alliance (GDA) and managed by a multi-sector consortium, including the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
- SORA will be building capacity by training Sierra Leonean on drones in collaboration with DSTI and Njala University.
- Design and test drone technologies across multiple use cases in Sierra Leone.
About the Sierra Leone National Drone Corridor
Sierra Leone’s drone corridor is one of six supported by UNICEF in the world. Launched in November 2019 by DSTI, UNICEF, Njala University, Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority. As a sandbox where industry, universities, and individuals can test the use of drones for imagery, connectivity, and transport. It has so far provided opportunities for learning and exploration of the use of drones in Sierra Leone and continues to work on creating research opportunities for students and fellows.
About Njala University
Njala University (or simply Njala, as it is fondly called), is a rural comprehensive public research university in Sierra Leone, is committed to providing the highest standards of excellence in higher education in Sierra Leone and beyond, fostering intellectual and personal development, and stimulating meaningful research and service to humankind. Njala University has had a rich history since its establishment in 1964 as a university college based on the model of the American Land Grant University. Since then, it has metamorphosed into one of the leading universities in the country, preparing undergraduate and postgraduate students for careers in a wide variety of specializations including Education, Agricultural Research and Extension, Agricultural Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Community Health Sciences, Social Sciences and Law, Natural Resources Management and in Information Technology, among others. Njala University is a multi-disciplinary university with three campuses–the Njala campus in the Moyamba District, the Bo campus in the Bo District and the newly established Bonthe campus in the Bonthe District. We also operate a location in Freetown.
About SORA Technology
SORA Technology is a Japanese company that utilizes drones and air mobility to promote social transformation after the pandemic of COVID-19. With the purpose of the realization of Universal Health Coverage and Digital Transformation in Africa and Asia, we build and operate drone-based infrastructure, including their flight management systems. We contribute to solving the problems of inaccessibility and inefficiencies by developing completely new infrastructure centered on drones not only for safe, reliable, and timely transportation of goods but also for the effective management of digital information.
The Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation
P: +(232) 75709963