The economic growth of any country depends largely on the accessibility of healthcare and medical facilities to the masses. Providing communities with essential medical aid is not an easy task, but the introduction of drones into the arena of medicine has certainly paved its path towards a better future. Drones have the potential to be reliable medical delivery platforms in challenging settings and situations.
UAVs are ingenious innovations for a hopeful future, unraveling a vast range of possibilities to save lives. The automated drones are pre-programmed with set flight paths to different hospitals. They are always deployed to deposit their deliveries in the same spot so that medics can find them easily. In extreme environments like warzones or during natural calamities, moving medical supplies like these drone deliveries can be lifesaving. For instance, in countries like Rwanda and Ghana, drones were able to deliver blood, plasma, and platelets for blood transfusions in a matter of minutes. Both these African countries have the inadequate infrastructure, making the rural locations inaccessible to immediate response. The South Pacific country of Vanuatu is now using drone delivery to supply vaccines to the country’s remote islands. The drones can maintain an altitude of 500ft in the hot tropical climate, fly during rain, brave nearly 50km/h winds, and can be monitored from anywhere in the world.
Medical drones are the future of disaster relief, providing much-needed help in delivering food and medical supplies to isolated areas. They are also handy in transferring medical samples between labs set in distant locations, making real-time reports and test results accessible to doctors for quick diagnosis.
With the growing acceptance of drones in the medical community, start-ups like Zipline, Swoop Aero, and Flirtey are successfully delivering critical and lifesaving products precisely where and when needed, safely and reliably every day, across multiple countries. Matternet, another US-based tech company, partnered with UNICEF to deliver HIV testing kits to clinics and hospitals throughout Malawi, the country with the highest rates of HIV infection in the world. Furthermore, drones have succeeded in delivering condoms and birth control to women throughout Ghana.
Response time to an emergency is what makes all the difference. UNICEF predicts that drones will be a more cost-effective and speedy mode of delivery, as compared to the current approach. The implications of drone delivery systems are still unknown and yet to be explored. The drone delivery industry has the potential to revolutionize the face of the medical ecosystem in the forthcoming years, and this is just the tip of the iceberg
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