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.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

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

Medical students, climate change and health: an unorthodox combination

EU’s new sanctions on Russia into force “in the next few days”: strength, weakness or strategy?

Sahel States need international support ‘now more than ever’– UN peacekeeping chief

These countries are pioneering hydrogen power

MEPs call for a reduction in pesticides to protect bees

Companies can help build a more inclusive world. Here’s how

Murder of Brazilian indigenous leader a ‘worrying symptom’ of land invasion

Hollande protects the euro from the attacks of extremists

UN chief praises Africa for keeping ‘hearts and borders open’ in refugee crisis

UN condemns Syrian ‘war on children’ as up to 30 reportedly killed in clashes

Health conditions for citizens of Yemen’s key port city ‘remain critical’ says UN agency

UN rights chief ‘strongly’ condemns ‘shocking’ mass executions in Saudi Arabia

‘These are very dark times for Yemen’: senior UN official on air strike mass casualties

The ‘American Dream’ can be best achieved in the Nordic nations, says Finland’s PM

The refugee crisis as a young Nigerian doctor sees it

New York high school students are getting free water bottles to cut plastic waste

Address by the President Antonio Tajani at the funeral of Nicole Fontaine

Malaria: Focus on pregnant women and children, stresses UN health agency report

Aid funding for Occupied Palestinian Territories at ‘all-time low’

How to have a good Fourth Industrial Revolution

New York and London mayors call on cities to divest from fossil fuels

Climate change: won or lost in cities or by cities?

Eurostat confirms a dangerously fast falling inflation in Eurozone

How innovation from within is transforming International Organizations as well as lives

These islands are using tourists to help offset the effects of tourism

How the world can gear up for the fight against cancer

How do we really feel about women leaders?

A shortened EU Summit admits failures, makes risky promises

Commission Work Programme 2019: Delivering on promises and preparing for the future

Eating less beef and more beans would cut deaths by 5-7%

Britain in chaos: May stays as Tory leader and PM but none can defuse the Brexit time bomb

On Brexit: the outcome of UK elections next May to be based on false promises?

From drones to health data, how Japan can power ahead

Corruption undermines democracy and contributes to instability, warns senior UN anti-crime official

Infrastructural and system barriers to Universal Health Coverage: get in my patient’s shoes

Climate change: Parliament’s blueprint for long-term CO2 cuts

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: UN Secretary-General Announces “Climate Action 2016” Partnership

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Lake Chad trees keep deadly drought at bay

It’s Brexit again: Nigel Farage launches a personal campaign to lead the ‘No’ front

UNICEF urges all countries to provide ‘Super Dads’ with paid leave

How to promote Primary Healthcare to the Young Healthcare Workforce?

South Sudan ‘revitalized’ peace deal must be inclusive, Security Council hears

This start-up is 3D-printing an entire neighbourhood in Mexico

Spain will soon overtake Japan in life expectancy rankings. Here’s why

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Ebola in DR Congo, malnutrition in Laos, baby health, support for Sahel force, #ClimateAction

Understanding of LGBT realities ‘non-existent’ in most countries, says UN expert

Fostering defence innovation through the European Defence Fund

Companies can help solve water scarcity. Here’s how

Leveraging digital for high quality internships

Four ways Artificial Intelligence can make healthcare more efficient and affordable

North Korean families facing deep ‘hunger crisis’ after worst harvest in 10 years, UN food assessment shows

UN chief calls for ‘far greater support’ for Cyclone Idai response

These Asian economies invested in their people – and it paid off

Madagascar villagers learn dangers of outdoor defecation

These dogs can smell tree disease – and could help save the world’s orange groves

High-tech or ‘high-touch’: UK survey gives clues to the jobs of the future

Alice in Colombia

At global health forum, UN officials call for strong, people-focused health systems

Vegans in France are using extreme tactics to stop people eating meat

‘Severe’ new US asylum restrictions will put vulnerable families at risk, UN refugee agency says

More Stings?

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