Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has been mulling use of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), popularly known as drones, for supplying crucial medicines to health care facilities located in remote parts of the country.
Use of drone technology will make delivering vital medicines to remote health centers easier, officials at the MoHP hope.
“With the help of UAVs, we can deliver medicines to any remote health facility within half an hour,” said Mahendra Bahadur Shrestha, chief of the Management Division at the MoHP. He informed that the ministry has been working to launch medicine delivery through UAVs in the upcoming fiscal year.
According to Shrestha, the ministry has been coordinating with KFW, a banking group owned by the German Government, to use drone technology for delivering medicines. The KFW has committed to provide Rs 2 billion grant to help the MoHP use the drone technology.
“We will use about half a dozen light drones this year,” added Shrestha. The MoHP itself had sought budget for the UAV technology for delivering medicines, but the Ministry of Finance (MoF) rejected the proposal. Following this, MoHP sought donor’s help for the drone technology.
Shrestha hopes the use of technology in the health care services will ultimately benefit the public. The government provides 70 types of medicines free of cost but most health centers lack the essential drugs all year round.
“We don’t have to worry about maintaining cold chain for crucial vaccines once we are able to use drones,” said Shrestha, adding that health centers at remote VDCs are facing a huge challenges to main cold chain of the vaccines.
The MoHP said that the light drones will deliver up to six kilograms of medicines and vaccines to an assigned health center. The delivery service will be handled by the respective district Public Health Offices.