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First time in South Asia, a ‘Made in India’ drone used to transport COVID-19 vaccine, says Health Minister

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya today  launched ICMR’s Drone Response and Outreach in North East (i-Drone) with a view to ensure last-mile delivery of vaccines.

This is a delivery model to make sure that life-saving vaccines reach everyone.

Launching the initiative, Mr Mandaviya  said that this is for the first time that a “Make in India’ drone has been used in South Asia to transport COVID vaccine over an aerial distance of 15 kilometers in  12  to 15 minutes from the Bishnupur district hospital to Loktak lake, Karang island in Manipur for administration at the Primary Health Centre.

He said, India is a home to geographical diversities and drones can be used to deliver essentials to the last mile.

The Health Minister said this technology can prove a game changer in addressing the challenges in health care delivery, particularly health supplies in difficult areas.

He said, the immunization program for COVID-19 have already exceeded all expectations and  hoped that  the initiative will further help the government  achieve the highest possible immunization coverage for COVID-19.

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Mr Mandaviya added that incorporating such drone technologies into the national programs would help deliver other vaccines and medical supplies as quickly as possible.Despite the effective and safe vaccine administration in the States and Union Territories, the vaccine delivery among tough and hard-to-reach terrains of India is still challenging.

He said, this i-Drone has been designed to overcome these challenges by deploying Unmanned Aerial vehicles or  drones to remote areas and hard to reach terrains.

He further said that currently, the drone based delivery project has been granted permission for implementation in Manipur and Nagaland, as well as union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Island.

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and  Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research,  Dr. Balram Bhargava   were also present on the occasion.

 

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