New Delhi: A Bengaluru-based startup on Monday launched a pilot project to utilise drones to provide superior healthcare services to tribal and rural communities in Arunachal Pradesh.
The project will take place in Seppa, a town in East Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh, by startup Redwing Labs, which will help deliver medical supplies up to eight times faster than road-based logistics.
Redwing Labs would provide aMade in India’ hybrid Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) drones and run end-to-end operations for the project.
The healthcare drone network is being set-up up on a limited experimental basis to pilot aerial healthcare deliveries in the state. The network would enable diagnostics and emergency treatments in the local health centres.
“We are hopeful that this trial will give quantifiable data points on cost and supply chain behaviour for drones in public healthcare to kickstart mass adoption. We are pleased and deeply grateful to USAID-Supported SAMRIDH initiative and World Economic Forum for their support in this project,” said Anshul Sharma, CEO and Co-Founder, Redwing Labs in a statement.
India started trials and pilots of drone-based deliveries in healthcare in 2021. Several states including Telangana, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha and Uttarakhand have done pilots and experimental flights.
Drones carried multiple health products including vaccines, essential drugs and diagnostic samples. Aerial supply chains have immense potential to solve last-mile healthcare challenges and advance SDG-3 in rural, tribal, and semi-urban locations.
By enabling care at the local level, the drone network aims to reduce out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE) for patients, increase immunisation rates and improve welfare gains. This experimental network would be accompanied by an impact evaluation study to understand the cost-benefit and health impact of using drones in India’s public health system.