The increasing use of drones for transporting medical supplies is going to make medical aid accessible to hundreds of inhabitants of remote islands around the globe. In a first of sorts, a commercial drone successfully transported vaccine to be administered to a baby aged one month on the island of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean. Nurse, Miriam Nampil, who gave the vaccine to the baby, was elated with the possibility that many more kids could be benefited through the use of drones. Unicef’s Executive Director also expressed her happiness in a press release on Tuesday.
Traveling about 25 miles, the drone effectively transported medical equipment to the otherwise hard-to-reach region of Cook’s Bay enabling vaccination of five mothers-to-be and thirteen kids to be undertaken successfully. The government of Vanuatu is exploring the possibility of using the drone delivery technology for the effective implementation of its national immunization program.
Transporting the sensitive vaccines to the 80 islands of Vanuatu which has few roads and a warm climate was hitherto a herculean task. Many of the children therefore had to give a miss to the essential vaccinations in childhood.
Today’s successful trial is another milestone achievement in using drones for successful delivery of urgently required medical supplies and aid. Many governments have incorporated this technology for many more of such important medical deliveries that have the capacity to transform the health and lives of several people living in their inaccessible areas.
The government of Ghana has partnered with U.S. firm Zipline to provide drones that will help to fulfill its hospitals’ requirements for blood and other medical supplies. Rwanda too has incorporated drones for transport of medical supplies to its rural based doctors. Papua New Guinea uses drones for delivery of samples to be tested for tuberculosis the relevant hospitals. Malawi is using drones on a trial basis for speeding the testing and diagnosing process for potentially HIV affected infants.