May 2 2021: Delivering medical goods using drones has now been an option for at least five years. Doctors Without Borders began testing the transport of diagnostic samples between remote clinicsand central testing facilities during a tuberculosis outbreakin Papua New Guinea as early as 2014.
As other countries witnessed the possibilities, the first big leap forward took place in Rwanda, where experiments, or pilot projects, matured into national-scale implementations, delivering blood on demand and at scheduled intervals.
Garnering significant international attention, it led to international bodies, governments and healthcare systems now beginning to consider the impact drone delivery may have on their own logistics networks.
The World Economic Forum’s Medicine from the Sky project is developing source materials to assist policymakers and health systems in analysing the opportunities and challenges of drone delivery as well as competing delivery models and technologies. In India it partners the Telengana government and Apollo hospitals.
India provides an excellent example of a large healthcare system experiencing the challenges felt by myriad other emerging economies around the world and currently considering drone delivery solutions.
Hindu Businessline reports that the Telangana government, World Economic Forum and HealthNet Global, had signed a collaboration agreement for the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project. A feasibility study is being planned to study drone-based delivery of blood, vaccines, medical samples and long tail medicine. Eight consortiums were shortlisted to participate and
The Civil Aviation Ministry of the Central government, has granted necdessary exemptions to Telangana for the purpose of trying out drones for medical delivery.
A similar permission was granted to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting feasibility study of Covid-19 vaccine delivery using drones, in collaboration with IIT-Kanpur.
Trial flights of drones beyond visual line of sight will take place shortly in Vikarabad district of Telangana with the Area Hospital as the take-off site and various Public Health Centres and sub-centres as the landing sites. NITI Ayog has stepped in to accelerate the process so that it may help in the current covid emergency.
Drones for sanitization in Bangalore
Bangalore MP P C Mohan has brought in Chennai based Garuda Aerospace, to carry out sanitisation of his constituency owith the help of drones. Aftet these trials, thedrones could also be used to ferry medicines and Covid-19 vaccines in the city said Chief Minister Yediyurappa.
Garuda Aerospace say their drone,named The White Knight can carrry a payload of 35-40 kg nad has an endurance capacity of two hours. The White Knight drone has been in development for the last two years to execute aerial delivery of emergency medicines, food and packages. It is now offering Drone as a Service (DoaS).