Congratulating the people of the country on this innovative step, Mansukh Mandaviya said, “This is for the first time that a “Make in India’ drone has been used in South Asia to transport COVID vaccine over an aerial distance of 15 kms in 12-15 mins from the Bishnupur district hospital to Loktak lake, Karang island in Manipur for administration at the PHC. The actual road distance between these locations is 26 kms. Today, 10 beneficiaries will receive the first dose and 8 will receive the second dose at the PHC.”
He further added, “India is a home to geographical diversities and drones can be used to deliver essentials to the last mile. We can use drones in delivering important life-saving medicines, collecting blood samples. This technology can also be used in critical situations. This technology may prove a game changer
in addressing the challenges in health care delivery, particularly health supplies in difficult areas.”
In a landmark event that epitomizes the Indian Government’s commitment to ‘Antyodaya’ in health; making healthcare accessible to the last citizen of the country, Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare launched ICMR’s Drone Response and Outreach in North East (i-Drone). This is a delivery model to make sure that life-saving vaccines reach everyone.
Launching the initiative which would facilitate vaccine delivery to tough and hard-to-reach terrains of India, the Union Health Minister said, “Our immunization program for COVID-19 have already exceeded all expectations. I strongly believe that this initiative will further help us achieve the highest possible immunization coverage for COVID-19. Incorporating such drone technologies into the national programs would help deliver other vaccines and medical supplies as quickly as possible.”
ICMR conducted an initial study in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur to test the capacity of drones to carry and transfer vaccines safely. The study was conducted in Manipur, Nagaland and Andaman and Nicobar. These studies provided promising results on the basis of which the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and other regulatory authorities have granted permission to fly drones beyond the Visual Line of Sight.