BY: Michelle Liew
With the rise of HIV cases in Uganda, medical experts are tackling the virus with the help of cargo drones.
Uganda is not the only one in the project as Rwanda and Ghana have also used medical supply drones to reach far off communities. With technology such as this, it promises a faster and better way to deliver life-saving drugs and supplies to more than 22 million Africans.
The drones are said to be a “game changer” as it navigates across the large Lake Victoria with ease. The lake is extremely huge and needs about 16 hours for a ferry to cross it.
Lake Victoria’s islands is home to approximately 67,000 people. It has an HIV incidence rate of 18%, which is way above the average of 5.6%. The antiretroviral drug can prevent the virus from crippling the immune system of those who are HIV-positive. The 4.5-foot wingspan of the cargo drones are able to carry 1kg of these supplies at a time to a distance approximately 150km.
The drones are developed by the Academy for Health Innovation Uganda and costs around $5,500 (RM22,715.00) each.
“Using medical drones is a huge step for us as a health sector in improving service delivery especially in hard to reach areas,” says Uganda’s director general of health services Henry Mwebesa, according to The Guardian.
“It’s very useful. Once it’s successful we can adopt it for other facilities and replicate it in other places.”
“Thanks to the support and coordination of our partners, including Johnson & Johnson, this program will help gather the information and data needed to help make this future a reality, while also helping to deliver lifesaving care to people in need,” said Parkes-Ratanshi, director of the project for the Academy.