The brilliant medical drones project in Kalangala finally takes off

The medical drones project in Kalangala that is currently being implemented by the Infectious Disease Institute to ensure that residents can receive medical supplies. These drones are guaranteed to provide easier means to reach people who live in hard to reach areas and are especially challenged by a lack of adequate health facilities.

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Drones are not commonly used in Uganda and have been restricted to tasks such as security surveillance, aerial surveys by architects and for events like weddings by videographers. Now looking towards the expanded use of this technology, the country is considering using medical drones to deliver blood and antiretroviral medications to remote parts of the country.

The medical drones project in Kalangala excites residents

The implementation of the medical drones project in Kalangala is good news for many of the island’s inhabitants, as their geographic location is often a barrier preventing them from receiving essential services such as medical care and other necessities. Connection to these areas is limited due to transportation issues as it limits access to supplies that are critical for people’s survival.

According to New Vision, Dr Rosalind Parkes –Ratanishi, the director of the Academy of Health Innovation at IDI, said the medical drones will support health facilities in Uganda to deliver essential medical supplies, including medicines directly to patients, communities and to health facilities.

She also added that in the pilot phase, the project will deliver commodities to communities on Bufumira Island.

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Dr Andrew Kambugu, the Executive Director of IDI, said: “This is a pilot project and we need to learn a lot. We have partnered with other groups to be able to do the work effectively.”

Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director General Health Services, commended IDI for introducing medical drones, adding that once the project is successful, they will adopt it for other facilities.

In 2019, the safe use of drones procured by the Infectious Disease Institute was approved by the government to deliver medical supplies to remote areas like Kalangala district. The medical drones project in Kalangala will be expected to cut down on transportation costs as drones are more reliable and cheaper to use in the long run.

Drones are a fantastic alternative to other modes of transportation, and they’ve recently become more common in various African countries as a result of the current pandemic. They’ve been used to distribute batches of covid vaccines to hard-to-reach locations in efforts to prevent the spread of the novel corona virus by limiting human interaction.

The use of drones in Uganda is however limited by a few factors like waiting for approval from police and the army which could take ages in some situations. The lack of education surrounding the use of this technology is another factor and hence there’s a need to educate the population to ensure that this technology thrives.

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