Malawi has taken a further step in divising the best way to help babies infected by HIV receive earliest medical support by establishing a test center for humanitarian drones. The program is aimed to employ drones for transporting medicine and blood samples.
The government in cooperation with UNICEF is expecting the first operation of the humanitarian drone service by April 2017. Once a drone is launched, it will be able to fly within a range of 40 kilometers, as reported by VOA.
Malawi is one of the countries with the highest HIV infection rate, which mainly affects babies and children. UNICEF reported that around 10,000 children die in the country because of HIV every year.
In March 2016, the collaboration between UNICEF and government had successfully completed the first flight. The drone delivered medical support from a health center to a hospital in Lilongwe, covering a distance of 10 kilometers.
Today, it can take up to 11 days to transport blood samples to a laboratory by conventional transportation such as ambulance or motorcycle. In addition, the result will take around four weeks to complete.
The use of drones is expected to shorten the transportation time for medical supplies, especially for those who live in the remote areas.
Malawi is not the only African country to start using drones for humanitarian aid purposes. Earlier in 2016, Rwanda also signed a deal with a US startup for a similar program.