Drones tested to deliver drugs

droneIn a novel scheme of utilising technology in healthcare, researchers at the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) in Hyderabad are testing drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) to deliver drugs.

On a pilot basis, the researchers have been testing a drone at a Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Moinabad, Ranga Reddy district, about 50 kilometres from Hyderabad. The IIPH researchers are exploring the possibility of using the drone to transport medicines to chronic patients who need a fixed amount of drugs every month.

“Since TB is a non-emergency ailment and patients need drugs every month, we thought of using drones to supply medicines. There are various possibilities of using the drone to transport medicines and we are exploring all of them,” said IIPH technology researcher Dr. Suresh Munuswamy.

The IIPH researcher pointed out that drones could be used to transport drugs from the central warehouse to the PHC. From PHC, the same drugs can be transported to the sub-centres, and from there, they can be delivered directly at the doorstep of the patient.

The IIPH plans to take up extensive testing of drones to deliver drugs at Moinabad and it will continue till year-end. “We only have one drone that has a capacity to lift just 500 grams. However, unmanned aerial vehicles do hold promise to make things easy for healthcare workers and patients,” Dr. Munusway said.

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