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The Health Minister announces the launch of the ICMR’s drone-based vaccine delivery model.

A ‘Make in India’ drone was used to transport COVID-19 vaccines for the first time in South Asia.

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya has launched the ICMR’s Drone Response and Outreach in the North East (i-Drone).

The i-Drone was created to address these issues by deploying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) / drones to remote locations and difficult-to-reach terrains. ​

Currently, permission has been granted for the drone-based delivery project to be implemented in Manipur and Nagaland, as well as the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

“This is the first time in South Asia that a Make in India drone has been used to transport COVID-19 vaccine over an aerial distance of 15 kilometres in 12-15 minutes from the Bishnupur district hospital to Loktak lake, Karang island in Manipur for administration at the PHC,” Mandaviya said. The actual driving distance between these two points is 26 kilometres. At the PHC today, 10 beneficiaries will receive the first dose and 8 will receive the second dose.” ​

“This technology may prove to be a game changer in addressing challenges in health care delivery, particularly health supplies in difficult areas,” he added.

In collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, the ICMR conducted an initial study to assess the ability of drones to safely transport and transfer vaccines. The research was carried out in Manipur, Nagaland, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These studies yielded promising results, on the basis of which the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and other regulatory bodies granted permission to fly drones.

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