The drone successfully travelled 10km, from the clinic in Area 25 to the Kamuzu central hospital laboratory, in what Unicef said was the “first known use of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] on the continent for improvement of HIV services”.
Unicef says it takes an average of 11 days to get samples from health centres to a testing lab, and up to eight weeks for the results to be delivered back. That’s where Unicef hope the drones can make the difference.
“The faster the tests can get to the laboratory and back, the faster these kids can get on antiretrovirals,” says Jim O’Sullivan, a former pilot who now heads Matternet’s first Africa project.
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