The potential of last mile drones delivery in a Pandemic

presentation by Olivier Defawe, Director Health Systems, VillageReach, at ONLINE Unmanned Aircraft Conference, 8 December 2020, 16:30 – 20:30 CET. REGISTER HERE to attend.

Headlines are everywhere: “This is the golden age of drone delivery.” Without a doubt, drones have the potential to transform healthcare logistics, and COVID-19 heightens the urgency. Global interest has grown, and drone service providers are poised to respond. But despite the headlines, few drone delivery operations have been sustained for longer than a few months or been scaled-up to a national level. During this talk, I will review and question the use of light cargo drones in response to the pandemic.


Olivier Defawe leads the design and implementation of a broad portfolio of health innovations to improve health care delivery at the last mile with expertise in unmanned aerial systems, supply chain, digital health and clinical laboratory practice. Olivier leads the VillageReach Drones for Health program, which intends to help advance the exploration of drones as a solution to solve problems in the public health sector. In this role, Olivier manages the implementation of drone programs in Mozambique, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and the Dominican Republic. Finally, Olivier is the founder and coordinator of the UAV for Payload Delivery Working Group, a global community of over 300 stakeholders involved in the development and advancement of drones for use in public health and supply chain systems.

VillageReach transforms health care delivery to reach everyone, so that each person has the health care needed to thrive. We develop solutions that improve equity and access to primary health care. This includes making sure products are available when and where they are needed and primary health care services are delivered to the most under-reached. Radical collaboration with governments, the private sector and other partners strengthen our ability to scale and sustain these solutions. Our work increases access to quality health care for 43 million people in sub-Saharan Africa.

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