UNICEF, DFAT partner with Vanuatu on a world-leading exploration of medical drone technology

Drones in medicine? When the idea was first presented a couple of months ago, at least one grey-haired techie thought that this might be yet another case of a high-tech solution in search of a problem to solve.

Not so.One of the biggest challenges facing Vanuatu health workers today is how to get vaccination programmes out to remote island communities. These life-saving interventions are a critical part of the campaign to reduce child and infant mortality. But until recently, there’s simply been no reasonable way to get vaccines out to where they’re needed.

It’s a simple problem, but a devilishly difficult one: Vaccines require refrigeration. On most islands, that means they can only safely be stored in one or at most two or three locations. Getting them out to smaller villages and keeping them cold was simply impossible.

Enter the drone.

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