- NET Web Desk
A trial to use drones to provide superior healthcare services to tribal and rural communities in Seppa – a town in East Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh.
Redwing Labs, a startup, would provide made in India hybrid Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) drones and run end-to-end operations for the project.
The World Economic Forum’s Medicines From the Sky (MFTS) initiative and its collaboration with the Government of Arunachal Pradesh, resulted into the deployment of medical drone pilots.
According to the lead for aerospace and drones at the World Economic Forum – Vignesh Santhanam, “In mid-2021, we undertook a field study in Arunachal Pradesh to learn more about the local health distribution system, disease profile and nature of the terrain. Traversing the Seppa-Bameng belt by road in particular made it evident that drones were an absolute necessity.”
“Through our learnings in Telangana, we are looking to stress test our systems in Arunachal Pradesh under the liberalized drone regime while factoring in economic principles right from the point of initiation,” he added.
The drone network is being set up on a limited experimental basis to pilot aerial healthcare deliveries in the state.
This network would enable diagnostics and emergency treatments in the local health centres.
The drone network seeks to decrease patient out-of-pocket expenses (OOPE), boost immunization rates and enhance welfare gains by enabling care at the local level.
In order to comprehend the cost-benefit and health effects of employing drones in India’s public health system, this experimental network would be complemented by an impact evaluation study.
The Deputy Commissioner (DC) of East Kameng District – Pravimal Abhishek, “The district has a very hilly terrain which makes it difficult to access interior areas, particularly during monsoons. I am sure drone-based drug delivery will be a game changer in strengthening access to healthcare in such remote areas. Hoping that this pilot project would give us the answers and clarity for the future.”
The pilot project in East Kameng is made possible by the financial and technical support from SAMRIDH Healthcare Blended Financing Facility – an initiative supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by IPE Global.