Vanuatu first Pacific country to use drones to deliver vaccines, medicine

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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, June 15, 2017) – Vanuatu will be the first country in the Pacific to begin using drones to deliver vaccines and critical medical supplies to its remote areas.

The inability to deliver needed vaccines from town to children at remote locations due to the lack of adequate transportation and poor infrastructure makes the government turn to drones for service delivery.

These are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS) that are designed to deliver vaccines via pre-programmed missions.

While drones will be flown remotely, distributing health products, many people in Vanuatu have never seen one before. The need to educate the rural community on the use of drones was highlighted during the launch of the national piloted aerial system at the Parliament House in Port Vila yesterday.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities (MIPU) will be implementing the initiative with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

MIPU, through the Civil Aviation Authority Vanuatu (CAAV) is applauded for ensuring the drone trial is carried out in the nation’s airspace.

Minister of Health, Jerome Ludvaune, mentioned the need to amend regulations governing the use of UAVs in Vanuatu.

The drone trial is scheduled to begin in August this year (2017) at Takara in north Efate.

http://www.pireport.org/articles/2017/06/14/vanuatu-use-drones-deliver-vaccines-medical-supplies-remote-areas

Comments

  • Hmmm, something for Chuuk and Yap to consider since their state owned vessels are broken down.
  • how far can these drones fly?
  • IDK, but I did find this information online:

    "Zipline, an American startup staffed by veterans of Google, SpaceX, Boeing and NASA, began delivering medical supplies in rural Rwanda using fixed-wing drones in October 2016. It has an agreement with the government to deliver blood products to 21 transfusion clinics from two bases, the first of which is already serving five clinics. Zipline’s drones can fly 150km on a single charge and work in rain and winds of up to 30km an hour. They are launched using a catapult, fly below 150 metres (500 feet) and drop cargo packages weighing 1.5kg by parachute.

    Rolling out the service means mapping the best routes for the aircraft, which fly autonomously, co-ordinating with military and civilian authorities, training clinic staff to receive cargo and reassuring the local communities along the route. Whether all this is economically viable, or just a publicity stunt by Rwanda’s tech-loving government, is unclear.

    But the company is talking to governments in other countries about operating similar services, focusing on medical deliveries outside urban areas. It hopes to change public perceptions of the word “drone”. Zipline’s Justin Hamilton says one of the firm’s engineers once told him that he used to work on drones that drop bombs, “and now he builds drones that drop blood.”

    http://www.economist.com/technology-quarterly/2017-06-08/civilian-drones

    You probably need to contact Civil Aviation Authority Vanuatu to learn the technical details for the Vanuatu project..

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/technology/guide-to-civilian-drones.html
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