A ‘Make in India’ drone transported the COVID-19 vaccine from a district hospital in Manipur to Karang island in Loktak lake, covering a distance of 26 km. This is a part of ICMR’s Drone Response and Outreach in North East, an initiative to ensure vaccine delivery to tough and remote regions.
The i-Drone project has been granted permission to operate in Manipur, Nagaland and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
COVID-19 tested health systems around the world and highlighted gaps from access to technology to health worker shortages. Such last-mile efforts are essential in a country like India for its massive population coupled with geographical diversities. The drones are able to cover large spans of land at a rapid pace, making healthcare accessible to citizens regardless of the terrain.
Future uses include delivering medicines, collecting blood samples, especially at critical moments. Besides expanding India’s vaccine coverage, the project can further support community health workers working in these areas to address more complex health issues.