It’s expensive to use drones to deliver meds. Not using them exacts a heavier cost
If we could send fleets of drones flying medical supplies to people in some of the poorest and most remote parts of the world, would it be worth it? Who’s going to pay for the drones, or the equipment needed to house and recharge them? Who’ll pay for the personnel to operate them, and the training required?
Last year I was part of a team that tested product-delivering drones in Mozambique with the help of a computational model of the country’s vaccine supply chain. The supply chain is the series of refrigerators, freezers, vehicles, and personnel involved in getting vaccines from their origin to the people who need them. The Republic of Mozambique, in southeast Africa, has over 24 million people and a GDP of around $35.3 billion—which turns out to be $419 per capita. Mozambique’s 801,537 square kilometers include rugged highlands and mountainous regions, long stretches of plateaus, large rivers, and woodlands filled with wild animals. Heavy rainfalls and cyclones can pummel parts of Mozambique. These conditions can make it dangerous to get vaccines to people. Read more