One small flight for a drone, one ‘big leap’ for global health

UNICEF/Pacific World’s first drone-delivered vaccine in Vanuatu. The vaccine delivery covered almost 40 kilometers of rugged mountainous terrain from Dillon’s Bay on the west side of the island to the east landing in remote Cook’s Bay,

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

On a small island in the remote South Pacific, a one-month-old baby has become the world’s first child to be given a vaccine delivered by a drone, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced.

The state-of-the-art craft which transported the vaccine, travelled nearly 40 kilometres over rugged mountain terrain, flying from Dillon’s Bay in western Vanuatu to remote Cook’s Bay – a scattered community accessible only on foot or by small boats – where 13 children and 5 pregnant women were inoculated by a nurse.

Henrietta H. Fore, the Executive Director of UNICEF said the tiny aircraft’s flight “is a big leap for global health.”

“With the world still struggling to immunize the hardest-to-reach children, drone technologies can be a game changer for bridging that last mile to reach every child,” she added.

Vaccines are extremely difficult to transport as they need to be carried at closely controlled temperatures, a particular challenge in warm places such as like Vanuatu, which is made up of more than 80 remote, mountainous islands stretching across 1,300 kilometres, with only limited road networks.

As a result, almost 20 per cent of the country’s children miss out on these essential vaccines.

Nurse Miriam Nampil, who administrated the vaccine to the children in Cook’s Bay highlighted these challenges: “It’s extremely hard to carry ice boxes to keep the vaccines cool while walking across rivers, mountains, through the rain, or across rocky ledges. I’ve relied on boats, which often get cancelled due to bad weather.”

“As the journey is often long and difficult, I can only go there once a month to vaccinate children. But now, with these drones, we can hope to reach many more children in the remotest areas of the island,” she added.

Drone payload only two metres off target

The effectiveness of employing drones for such critical delivers was confirmed last week.

In a test flight carried out by the island’s Ministry of Health with UNICEF support, the drone -flown by an Australian company – landed the payloads within just two meters of the target after a 50-km flight over numerous islands and way points.

When it came to the actual flight, the vaccines were carried in Styrofoam boxes with ice-packs and a temperature logger, programmed to trigger an alert should the vaccine temperature swing out of acceptable range.

World first

The delivery is also the first time ever, that a Government has contracted a commercial drone company to transport vaccines to remote areas. The operator was selected after a bidding process, and as per the contract, they are held accountable and not paid if they don’t deliver.

In the long term, the Government of Vanuatu is seeking to integrate vaccine delivery by drones into their national immunization programme and plans to use drones more widely to distribute health supplies, according to UNICEF.

The data from the trials will also be used to show how drones can be used commercially in similar settings around the world.

“Today’s first-of-a-kind vaccine delivery has enormous potential not only for Vanuatu, but also for the thousands of children who are missing out on vaccines across the world,” explained UNICEF head Fore.

“This is innovation at its best and shows how we can unlock the potential of the private sector for the greater good of the world’s children.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

COVID-19 has laid bare the cracks in long-term care. Here’s how to fix them

Halting spread of drug resistance from animals to humans: deal with Council

EU fight against tax-evasion and money laundering blocked by Britain

THE COMMITTEES: From the colonies to the space race – past, present, future converge in Fourth Committee

Mali: ‘Dire’ humanitarian situation, ‘grave’ security concerns challenge fragile peace

How AI can inspire doctors to be more inventive

Mergers: Commission clears Alstom’s acquisition of Bombardier, subject to conditions

Peru should help more young vulnerable people into work

Deepfake democracy: Here’s how modern elections could be decided by fake news

Italy’s Letta: A European Banking Union soon or Eurozone collapses

International Women’s Day: Where does she belong?

Peacekeeping chief honours Tanzanian troops in Zanzibar, a year on from deadly DR Congo attacks

How storytelling can be a force for social change

Myanmar: Departing UN rights expert still hopeful for democratic transition

What we need is more (and better) multilateralism, not less

Ten new migratory species protected under global wildlife agreement

UN General Assembly urges greater protection for Palestinians, deplores Israel’s ‘excessive’ use of force

Italian archaeological trafficking group dismantled

How civil society can adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Act now to prevent Desert Locust catastrophe in Horn of Africa: UN agencies

European Parliament marks EU accession prospects for Serbia and Kosovo

What can smallpox teach us about how we’ve managed COVID-19?

The EU and North Korea: A Story of Underestimation

How face masks, gloves and other coronavirus waste is polluting our ocean

Dramatic drop in South Sudan political violence since peace agreement signing

Is the advent of nationalism to destroy economic neo-liberalism?

Three trends shaping the future of mobility in 2020

Pollinating insects: Commission proposes actions to stop their decline

Gender Equality as a platform to improve Medicine

AI-assisted recruitment is biased. Here’s how to make it more fair

Country origin ‘best predictor of outcome’ for children with cancer, UN experts say

Time to act together: Von der Leyen at the European Parliament July plenary

This is how travel hotspots are fighting back against overtourism

How personalized care can tackle the late-life loneliness epidemic

How migrants who send money home have become a global economic force

Suriname’s climate promise, for a sustainable future

COP21 Breaking News_10 December: the final sprint of the Final Agreement Negotiations

Is continuous sanctioning the way to resolve the Ukrainian crisis?

A silent killer: the impact of a changing climate on health

Call to revitalize ‘language of the ancestors’ for survival of future generations: Indigenous chief

How building renovations can speed up the electric vehicle revolution

Boris ‘single-handed’ threatens mainland Europe; can he afford a no-deal Brexit?

Judges urge Security Council to serve interests of all UN Member States

France fails again the exams. Kindly requested to sit in on Commission’s class

Guterres expresses ‘grave concern’ following explosion at large political rally for reform-minded Ethiopian Prime Minister

Could the EU’s ban on palm oil in biofuels do more harm than good?

Boosting the EU’s Green Recovery: EU invests over €2 billion in 140 key transport projects to jump-start the economy

UN chief ‘alarmed’ by violations of UN-backed ceasefire in Libya

Four ways innovation can help to beat heart disease

This is what you need to know about the Iran nuclear deal

Russia and the West to partition Ukraine?

Visa facilitation and readmission: agreements with Belarus now in force

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Women boost work profits, saving biodiversity, UK loses Chagos Islands vote, Gaza funding, malaria-free in Argentina, Algeria

‘Cataclysmic events’ in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, began ‘global push’ against nuclear weapons says Guterres, honouring victims

DR Congo elections: ‘historic opportunity’ for ‘peaceful transfer of power’ says Security Council

Joris in Indonesia

China hopes EU Commissioner De Gucht drops super anti-dumping tariff on solar panels

5 reasons why reading books is good for you

A comprehensive strategy for Eurozone’s long term growth gains momentum

International Court of Justice orders Pakistan to review death penalty for Indian accused of spying

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s