In a milestone event that embodies the government’s commitment to “Antyodaya” in the field of health; making health care accessible to the country’s last citizen, Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, launched the ICMR Drone Response and Outreach in the North East (i-Drone ). This is a delivery model to ensure that life-saving vaccines reach everyone.
Thanking the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Union Minister of Health said: “Under his leadership, the nation is advancing at a steady pace. Today is a historic day, which has shown us how technology makes life easier and brings about social change. “
Congratulating the people of the country for this innovative step, Mansukh Mandaviya said: “This is the first time that a ‘Make in India’ drone has been used in South Asia to transport the COVID vaccine over an aerial distance of 15 km in 12-15 minutes from Bishnupur District Hospital at Loktak Lake, Karang Island to Manipur for administration to PHC. The actual road distance between these locations is 26 km. Today, 10 beneficiaries will receive the first dose and 8 will receive the second dose at PHC.
He added: “India is home to geographic diversities and drones can be used to deliver the essentials until the last mile. We can use drones to deliver important life-saving drugs, collect blood samples. This technology can also be used in critical situations. This technology can be a game-changer for meeting the challenges of healthcare delivery, especially healthcare supplies in difficult areas. “
Launching the initiative that would facilitate the delivery of vaccines to difficult and hard-to-reach areas in India, the Union Minister of Health said: “Our COVID-19 vaccination program has already surpassed all expectations. I firmly believe that this initiative will further help us achieve the highest possible vaccine coverage for COVID-19. Integrating these drone technologies into national programs would help deliver other vaccines and medical supplies as quickly as possible. “
Despite the efficient and safe administration of vaccines in the states and territories of the Union, the delivery of vaccines to the difficult and difficult-to-reach areas of India remains a challenge. This i-Drone was designed to overcome these challenges by deploying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) / drones in remote areas and difficult to access terrain. Currently, the drone delivery project has obtained approval for implementation in Manipur and Nagaland, as well as in the territory of Andaman Union and Nicobar Island.
The ICMR conducted a first study in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur to test the ability of drones to transport and transfer vaccines safely. The study was carried out in Manipur, Nagaland and Andaman and Nicobar. These studies provided promising results on the basis of which the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and other regulatory authorities granted permission to fly drones. beyond the visual line of sight.
Mandaviya expressed confidence in the initiative and noted that this initiative can be helpful in providing not only vaccines but also other medical supplies. This will help fill in the gaps in current vaccine delivery mechanisms. He thanked the Ministry of Civil Aviation, DGCA and Airports Authority of India for their support in this endeavor and congratulated the ICMR, health workers and all those associated with this historic initiative.
Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of ICMR and other senior officials of the ministry, state governments, ICMR etc. were also present.