International Development News
Development News Edition

UNICEF hails commercial drone delivery to improve global healthcare

UNICEF hails commercial drone delivery to improve global healthcare
UNICEF called the successful trial on Tuesday a "big leap for global health".

A one-month-old baby in Vanuatu has become the first person in the world to be immunised using vaccines delivered by a commercial drone, the United Nations said, raising hopes that the method could save lives in other far-flung areas.

The drone flew for 25 minutes across 40 kilometres (24 miles) of mountainous terrain to get to the Cook's Bay area on the island of Erromango, which would otherwise have taken hours to reach on foot or by boat.

Vanuatu is the world's first government to contract a commercial drone company to deliver vaccines, according to the U.N. children agency, UNICEF, which called the successful trial on Tuesday a "big leap for global health".

A nurse picked up the vaccines, including those that immunize against polio and tuberculosis, and administered them to 13 children and five pregnant mothers. "It is very innovative. I hope it will extend to a wider region," said Gina Dehinavanua, of humanitarian agency CARE International, on Wednesday.

"It will help our kids and ensure those aged between zero and five have all the necessary vaccines to grow up as a child," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila.

The Pacific island nation, with about 280,000 people spread across roughly 80 islands, is one of the world's poorest countries. Only about a third of its inhabited islands have airfields and proper roads.

Out of every 1,000 babies born in Vanuatu, 28 die before they reach the age of five, according to UNICEF data from 2016, while only one in five children is fully immunised.

Vaccines are difficult to transport as they need to be kept at specific temperatures. During the drone flight, they were kept in Styrofoam boxes with ice-packs and a temperature sensor.

"With the world still struggling to immunise the hardest to reach children, drone technologies can be a game changer for bridging that last mile to reach every child," UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore said in a statement.

Drone deliveries will be tested in more villages across the archipelago before Vanuatu's government decides if the method will be used more widely. Although drones have been used to deliver medicines before, they have yet to be deployed on a large scale for humanitarian purposes.

(With inputs from agencies.)



'No escape from telephones', this 1953 prediction actually comes true

In 1953, a telephone company chief predicted that therell be no escape from telephones in the future....

With Ayodhya verdict, CJI starts clearing high profile pending cases

Ending all the speculations, the Chief Justice of India Mr. Ranjan Gogoi who is due to retire on November 17 decided to deliver the verdict in Ayodya dispute at 10.30 am on Saturday which is not a working day for the Supreme Court. This is ...

How partnerships and collaborations could enhance teacher training

Monica Malhotra Kandhari, Managing Director, MBD Group shares her views on public private partnership and collaborations in education sector. She supports her propositions with her organisations success stories....

Fixed Test centers would facelift level of WTC in India

The venues for the test matches in India should be fixed so that World Test Championship matches remain fair....


Latest News

UPDATE 1-European shares fall on Hong Kong unrest, Trump's disappointing trade comments

European shares retreated from four-year highs on Wednesday, as a highly anticipated speech by U.S. President Donald Trump gave scant clues on the progress of a trade deal with China, and as anti-government protests in Hong Kong raged on, d...

Jaishankar meets French President Macron in Paris, discusses strategic issues

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has met French President Emmanuel Macron here and held a good discussion with him on important strategic issues. The two leaders met at the Paris Peace Forum on Tuesday.Met with President EmmanuelMacro...

Dutch government to cut speed limit to reduce nitrogen pollution

The Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Wednesday the countrys speed limit would be cut to a maximum of 100 kilometers per hour 62 mph nationwide, as part of a package of emergency measures intended to reduce nitrogen pollution.Ru...

Babul Supriyo faces protest during visit to cyclone-hit areas

Union minister Babul Supriyo on Wednesday faced massive protests and was asked to go back by a group of people when he reached South 24 Parganas to take a stock of the situation in cyclone Bulbul-hit areas. Supriyo, who said on Tuesday that...

Give Feedback