The Israeli aircraft helps Nigeria in stamping out piracy

Bird Aearosystems from Herzliya, Israel, has recently revealed that its mission aircraft, equipped with cutting-edge intelligence and surveillance systems, are included in the Deep Blue project. The project, held by the Nigerian government, is part of the efforts to tackle the piracy phenomenon along the coast and protect seacraft and merchant ships in Nigeria’s territorial waters. As a result, Nigeria was recently removed from the International Bargaining Forum’s (IBF) list of states classified as high-risk maritime nations. 

The Gulf of Guinea, which is surrounded by 20 countries, including Nigeria, is considered a global piracy hot spot, where almost half of the worldwide marine robbery attacks are committed. These attacks, carried out by armed groups, include merchant ship robberies, smuggling, oil theft, illegal fishing, and crew kidnapping. The multitude of attacks in the Gulf severely damages Africa’s economy, as it is a main trade route between the continent and the rest of the world. Experts estimate the financial damage resulting from piracy to be around $2 billion for the countries around the Gulf.

The Deep Blue initiative, designed to safeguard Nigeria’s territorial waters up to the Gulf of Guinea, was introduced by the Nigerian government in 2021 in an effort to address the issue. The Nigerian Navy, Air Force, Ground Military, Police, and Security Services were brought together under the umbrella of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to carry out the project’s objectives. This project is the first of its kind in Western Africa, and if it is successful, other countries suffering from piracy may embrace it.

The combined force consists of 16 armored vehicles for coastal patrol, 600 specially trained troops for interdiction, two designated ships, 17 speed boats, two intelligence and surveillance mission planes, three helicopters, and two drones. In addition, a Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence Centre (C4i) was established.

One of Bird Aerosystems’ operation lines is tailoring mission aircraft (ASIO) for border protection, patrol, and surveillance. The company provided two Cessna Citation CJ3 converted to maritime patrol aircraft for the Deep Blue project. Both airplanes are equipped with Bird’s mission-management and intelligence-gathering systems, which allow for combining data from aerial, marine, and ground sources and planning for missions based on multi-layer intelligence. Bird recently carried out a live demonstration of the system for the Nigerian government.

Nanox to deploy first digital CT systems in West Africa

The israeli Nanox, an innovative medical imaging company, enters the West African market, signing an exclusive distribution deal with EiLEENO Pharma to deploy Nanox’s medical imaging services in Nigeria.

The Nanox System is composed of the Nanox.ARC, a medical imaging system incorporating a novel digital X-ray source, and the Nanox.CLOUD, a companion cloud-based software designed to provide an end-to-end medical imaging service that is expected to include image repository, radiologist matching, online and offline diagnostics review and annotation, connectivity to diagnostic assistive artificial intelligence systems, billing, and reporting.

Subject to regulatory approval, Nanox and EiLEENO Pharma will collaborate on the deployment and operation of 1,000 Nanox Systems comprised of the Nanox.ARC and the Nanox.CLOUD; all designated to improve the standard of care in Nigeria via significantly increased availability of medical imaging for the benefit of patients across the country.

According to the agreement and subject to regulatory approval, EiLEENO Pharma will commit to a minimum annual service fee to Nanox. The agreement has an initial term of four years and is renewable for an additional term of four years with both parties’ mutual consent.

“We are very excited to sign the unique MSaaS agreement with NANOX, to deploy medical imaging systems and ensure services for healthcare facilities across the country,” said Edward Egede, Managing Director and CEO of EiLEENO Pharma.

“This will drive affordability of medical imaging in Africa towards the goal that each Nigerian carries out comprehensive medical checks at least once a year to proactively manage their health and help promote preventive healthcare. Our broad spread of nearly 4,400 health facilities in Nigeria, covers populations in various geographic areas, especially those who are remotely habited.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) approximately two-thirds of the world’s population does not have access to medical imaging systems, while many people with access to medical imaging face substantial wait times for scanning. Medical imaging systems are an important early-detection tool that Nanox believes are key to increasing early treatment, improving health outcomes, and ultimately saving lives.

“West Africa is one of the prime target markets for us,” says Ran Poliakine, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nanox. “The agreement with EiLEENO Pharma will allow us to support Nigeria’s population, enabling the nation to run high-volume screening campaigns cross-country. We want medical imaging to become as commonplace and accessible as water or electricity, readily available to all communities everywhere.”

Reinventing The X-Ray Source

Nanox has developed a Digital Computed Tomography technology based on the production of X-rays using a MEMS instead of an incandescent lamp. The company’s estimates its technology allows for the production of CT systems at a cost of $10,000 each, instead of approximately $3 million – the current average price of CT scanners. CT scanners perform multiple X-rays from different angles. A computer program is used to fuse all these images into a single three-dimensional file that allows the exploration of the body and its organs.

The company markets the system through collaborations with governments, hospitals and healthcare chains. The company has signed distribution agreements in 14 countries in the past two years. It intends to offer the use of systems in a Pay-per-Scan model, thereby reducing the costs of equipping scanners.