In the midst of the pandemic, it became even clearer why one should invest in healthcare, but also in innovation. We bring the stories of three innovators who used their skills to help those who carry the burden of the crisis on their backs.
Dario, Roko and Marko, each with their own address, each with different skills, are helping those who bear the burden of the coronavirus epidemic.
For the first few days, we didn’t sleep at all, we worked day and night. We have three high school students and one elementary school student working in our office, and I am one of them, Roko Lukenda from the Connect-IT association told us.
Sixteen-year-old Roko, who has nurtured a love of robotics since elementary school, has now turned his hobby to help the real sector by making visors for healthcare professionals.
The average of some kind of workmanship varies from 18 to 30 pieces a day and more, depending on how much we sleep, he explained.
His team made 300 protective visors in less than two weeks. Of these, 220 were sent to the Brod-Posavina County Headquarters, 20 to Biograd na Moru, and five to the Municipality of Pašman. About thirty visas for the Zadar Hospital are being prepared.
From these headquarters, visors are forwarded to hospitals and health centres, and supplies that have not yet been deployed are sent by Rok’s team to homes for the elderly and infirm. In addition to protective visors, two respirators are currently being made in the workshop.
We did not receive any instructions, no one asked us to do them. It is our will and our desire to help in this situation, he said.
Two hundred miles away, another team is helping keep the health system on its feet. Dario and his seven-member team have been gathered at the Hero Factory startup for two years now, where they help small and medium-sized businesses organize and run their businesses. It took them, he says, five minutes to take action.
We have seen that in the US, the UK, Spain it is used to save time for medical professionals, said Dario Begonja.
And so in just one week, they devised a virtual assistant that answers all questions instead of medical professionals.
We see what worries Croats the most about these issues and what may need to be addressed in more detail or whether there are any additional issues, he explained.
The virtual assistant has launched only five days ago. Since then, 710 users have asked him a total of 8520 questions, which ultimately saved all the medical professionals who have done it manually by as much as 142 hours, which they can now dedicate to patients.
Four years ago, few people believed in his product, and with the VeeMee platform, Marko today connects farmers with potential customers, to whom he also guarantees the authenticity of the food.
When such situations as viruses occur, only then do people realize how much digitalization can help us, said Marko Kozjak.
Until March 15, only 1,500 family farms in Croatia had the option of online purchase or delivery. After this date, their number rose to 8,000. On the other hand, 1,350 farmers have registered on Marko’s platform, of which only 130 offer delivery options.
It was to these farmers that sales increased by 30 per cent, and Marko’s VeeMee saved 70 tons of food that would otherwise perish in the last three weeks.
Honestly, I did it four years ago with the same gusto as I do now, Marko said.
Fortunately, each of these patents will continue its life even after the epidemic passes. These three young men are an example of developing their own potential, not importing foreign ones, fostering competitiveness, not living from incentive to incentive. Let this remain a reminder of why a healthy state is the only one that systematically invests in its innovators.
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