Bodacart – Concept Note
The BodaCart project is low cost and high impact, and it would have a direct improvement on the health and economy as it stands today. The team is focused on providing a product that improves the economy of the region while also being affordable and sustainable for the people that would use the product every day. The team has a proven track record of creating prototypes and developing concepts, and it is supported by a group of exceptional organizations and mentors.
BodaCart: A cost-effective, clinically impactful, and locally manufactured transport
The BodaCart will be the first transport mechanism in Uganda to integrate a patient transport capability into a commercially viable cargo vehicle. The BodaCart will attach to a small motorcycle and leverage existing motorcycle parts and expertise, combined with a few clever innovations, to create a better composite product.
The BodaCart is locally manufactured with existing, broadly available motorcycle parts for a price of roughly $500 USD (1 250 000 UGX). A prototype has already been created to prove its cost and local manufacturability.
Taking into account highly diverse terrain, the BodaCart is usable in three ways: (1) attached to the back of a motorcycle as a trailer, suitable for narrow forest paths; (2) attached to the side of a motorcycle as a sidecar, suitable for uneven roads and hilly conditions; and finally, (3) a stand-alone pull-cart suitable for extreme hills and off-road conditions.
Its key innovation is the combination of flexibility, affordability, and usability.
BodaNet: A referral network for emergency situations and birth survival
BodaNet, a novel distributed referral network, couples with the BodaCart to ensure that when patients arrive at a health facility there are sufficient resources available to treat them. BodaNet will be a user-friendly, convenient, and affordable internet-based communication system that can operate over any mobile phone or computer network. BodaNet will be a centralized network service containing contact information for all health facilities and BodaCart drivers in a region.
Public Health Impact
The decision to seek medical attention in Uganda can be influenced by many factors, however concerns about the cost of transport and treatment are consistently identified as the primary barrieri to doing so.
One study in eastern Uganda found that the delay in reaching a health facility was the primary cause of 20% of newborn deathsii. Additionally, in a qualitative study performed in 2006, women cited distance from a health facility, transportation problems, and an inability to travel alone as barriers to seeking medical attentioni. When utilized appropriately, the BodaCart would reduce delays by improving the overall availability of fast, suitable medical transport.
The BodaCart is designed to be inexpensive and easily available, and it has the potential to improve the health of a community by cutting the cost of emergency transportation. When not in use as an emergency transport, the BodaCart can also be used for commerce, and the extra income generated from this commerce could have an additional positive effect on the health of community.
An exact estimate of motorcycle taxis in Uganda is not available. However, there are roughly 70 000 new motorcycles registered every yeariii, and recent news reports estimate that there are as many as 800 000 existing motorcycles in Kampalaiv alone; many of these drivers would be able to afford a BodaCart as a value-add to their existing services.
Farmers and small manufacturers throughout Uganda lack a low cost motorized transport for their goods. At present, the most common way for a farmer to transport a medium sized load of goods (at low cost) is to put the goods on the back of a bicycle. If the same farmer were able to transport more goods via a motorcycle taxi driver, then he could make it to market faster and with a higher quantity of goods.
Outside of Uganda, BodaCart compatible motorcycles are being used in many other African countries, potentially opening up an even larger market.
Team and Partnerships
The BodaCart primary team consists of David McKeone and Abhijit Sinha (software engineers), as well as Roger Busingye (mechanical engineer). The team is supported by the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) and the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST). The team benefits from the mentorship of Mike Dempsey (Business), Mike Wollowitz (Mechanical Engineering), and Dr. Data Santorino (Public Health and Medicine), as well as many other CAMTech employees and mentors.
The team was awarded first place for the BodaCart concept at the CAMTech Medical Technology Hackathon.
i Parkhurst JO, Rahman SA, Ssengooba F. Overcoming access barriers for facility-based delivery in low-income settings: insights from Bangladesh and Uganda. Journal of health, population, and nutrition. 2006;24(4):438-45. Available at: http://www.pubmedcentral.com.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=3001147&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract.
ii Waiswa P, Kallander K, Peterson S, Tomson G, Pariyo GW. Using the three delays model to understand why newborn babies die in eastern Uganda. Tropical medicine & international health: TM & IH. 2010;15(8):964-72. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20636527. Accessed October 1, 2013.
iii Uganda Revenue Authority. Newly Registered Vehicles. Available at: http://www.ubos.org/onlinefiles/uploads/ubos/pdf%20documents/Trans_T1_2011.pdf. Accessed October 15, 2013
iv Klosterboer B. Kampala's Boda Bodas: Profit overrides competitition. Available at: http://www.monitor.co.ug/artsculture/Reviews/Kampala-s-Boda-Bodas—Profit-overrides-competition/-/691232/1703394/- /12ack3j/-/index.html. Accessed October 15, 2013.