Medical Drones Research Project Launch

On the 28th of April 2021, the Academy for Health Innovation, Uganda under IDI officially launched the Medical Drones research Project in Bufumira island, Kalangala district. The Medical Drones project aims at supporting health facilities and people on the islands through the use of drones to deliver medical supplies.
Kalangala district is made up of 84 islands and is home to over 67,000 people with only 5.1% of the area made up of land.

Due to the geographical obstacles, the movement of health workers and residents from one place to another to offer and receive health care services respectively is difficult with the main means of transport being water transport.
The Island has an HIV prevalence of 18%, significantly higher than the national HIV prevalence which is 5.6%.
With funding from Johnson and Johnson, the medical drones research project will deliver HIV medication to people living in the hard-to-reach areas on the islands starting with Bufumira island. The drones will be operated by a human controller and can be positioned to deliver drugs/medical supplies, survey damage, and locate stranded victims.

Dr. Henry Mwebesa, Director General Health Services (Ministry of Health Uganda) with Dr. Rosalind Ratanshi- (director of The Uganda Academy for Innovation) during the launch of the Medical Drones Project in Kalangala District

“The people in the communities have been asking about the drones and are very excited to witness this launch today. We have hope that this is the start of something big for the people of Kalangala and will address one of the most pressing issues across the islands. We thank the government of Uganda, the funders, IDI and operating bodies and organizations for the support rendered to make this happen.” Said Mr. Munaaba Robert Geoffrey, the Bufumira Chairperson.

Drones are very efficient, safe, and quick in delivery and reduce the cost of transport to access health care. This will build onto Government efforts to accelerate and decentralize ART delivery across the country.
The project is implemented with support from the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defence, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, and Kalangala district local government and in collaboration with UNCDF and Rakai Health Sciences program.