With the recent completion of the country’s first organized medical drone delivery program, known as “Medicine from the Sky,” which delivered a range of medical devices over long distances, it became clear that such unmanned aerial vehicles could be a force multiplier for the country’s existing healthcare infrastructure

Healthnet Global, the World Economic Forum, the Telangana government and NITI Aayog at Apollo Hospital have released a report on “Medicine from the Sky,” a method of health care based on drones. The report provides a comprehensive look at the Medicines from the Sky project, in which, in the first scheme of its kind, vaccines were delivered out of sight (BVLOS) by drone.

With the recent completion of the country’s first organized medical drone delivery program, known as “Medicine from the Sky,” which delivered a range of medical devices over long distances, it became clear that such drones could be a multiplier force for the country’s existing healthcare infrastructure. On average, the drones used in the exercises flew at an altitude of 300 feet (90 m), carrying an average weight of 2.3 kg, including payload boxes, materials and coolants at an average temperature of 5 ° C. Drones can be not only a means of delivery for the last mile, but also for the middle mile – medical transit between 2 centers or even on a well-established campus. However, to support the provision of medical care by drones in the health care system, technological advances and awareness must go hand in hand. In addition, the procurement of unmanned aerial vehicles for medical supplies requires a knowledge-based understanding of local scenarios that are best provided by original drone equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and service providers. Thus, the expansion of unmanned aerial vehicles in health care is a multifaceted topic, and no one should be left out during its implementation.

The ability of audio-video communication has enabled the drone to provide assistance in cardiopulmonary resuscitation to first aid personnel. In the project “Medicine from the sky” the place of take-off was chosen by the government hospital, and the place of landing – various PHCs and subcenters. Of the 8 activated medical facilities in the districts (6 PHCs and 2 CBs), the district hospital identified as a take-off site for testing was not equipped with a cold chain facility. This was also allowed by Apollo hospitals.

As clinical partners in the exercise, Dr. Sangita Reddy, joint head of Apollo Hospital, stressed that the organization’s mission is to “provide access to quality healthcare services around the world using advanced technology”. Apollo has been studying the use of drones to improve health care since 2018 and advocates for the wider introduction of drone technology and related policies to save lives across the country. “Medicine from Heaven” is one of our great projects in terms of the innovative use of technology in healthcare, and we were honored to be a clinical partner in the initiative and share our experiences in healthcare. We look forward to continuing to work with the WEF (World Economic Forum), the Telangana government and other states across the country on this project, which I am sure would mark the beginning of a new era in improving the healthcare supply chain. ”

KT Rama Rao, Minister of Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Industry and Trade and Information Technology of Telangana, said: “Telangana was the torchbearer of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles to successfully apply the impact of life to citizens in remote and inaccessible areas is a key point that demonstrates how drones can be integrated into the healthcare ecosystem. After Telangana, several other states repeated the option of using medical delivery. “

Vikram Taploo, CEO of HealthNet Global Apollo Hospital, said: “Drones can make the delivery of essential medicines, vaccines and other essential materials, especially to remote areas, faster and more affordable. The main reason for the lack of access to health services are transport barriers. Drones can successfully overcome connectivity problems and positively impact the lives of millions of people living in remote and hard-to-reach areas. The area, which was previously cut off by road and inaccessible to large aircraft and helicopters, can now be easily reached, thus expanding India’s transport network to strengthen the country’s health scenario. Just as telehealth solves the problem of inaccessibility of doctors in remote places, drone delivery solves the issues of rapid sampling, delivery of medical supplies, diagnostics and more.

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