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Health Minister Mandaviya launches i-drone for vaccine delivery

In a landmark development, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on October 4 launched the Drone Response and Outreach in North East (i-Drone) devised by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The ‘Made in India’ aerial devices endeavour under the aegis of the ‘Antyodaya’ scheme, introduced by BJP in 2002, ensures that speedy and accessible life-saving vaccines reach the maximum of the northeastern population.

First in South Asia: Health Minister introduces drone-based vaccine delivery system
Extending the country’s landmark achievement under the leadership of PM Modi, Mandaviya said, “This is for the first time that a “Make in India’ drone has been used in South Asia to transport COVID vaccine over an aerial distance of 15 kms in 12-15 mins from the Bishnupur district hospital to Loktak lake, Karang island in Manipur for administration at the PHC. The actual road distance between these locations is 26 k.m. Today, 10 beneficiaries will receive the first dose and 8 will receive the second dose at the PHC.”

Launching the initiative facilitates vaccine delivery to tough and hard-to-reach terrains across the country, the Union Health Minister said, “Incorporating such drone technologies into the national programs would help deliver other vaccines and medical supplies as quickly as possible.”

ICMR launches i-Drone for vaccine delivery system
ICMR has launched i-Drone to overcome challenges by deploying Unmanned Aerial vehicles (UAV)/ drones to remote areas and hard to reach terrains. While permission has been granted for the i-Drone implementation in Manipur, Nagaland and Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Island, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and other central regulatory authorities have granted permission to fly the said drones beyond the Visual Line of Sight.

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While launching the advanced drone technology, Mandaviya stated ICMR’s i-Drone would be helpful in delivering COVID-19 vaccinations in a capacity of 900 vaccines per trip plus and medical supplies too.

Taking to Twitter, the Health Minister wrote, “i-Drone: The game-changer in healthcare! First #MakeInIndia drone, which has a capacity of 900 vaccine doses, was used for delivery across a distance of 31 km, from Bishnupur to Karang Island in Manipur. 10 people were vaccinated against #COVID19 through this initiative.”

Enumerating the launch of ICMR’s i-Drones, Mandaviya, in another tweet, shared, “Addressed launch of ICMR’s initiative for ‘drone-based vaccine delivery system’ in North-Eastern India. Covering 31 km in 15 minutes, vaccines were transported from Bishnupur District Hospital to Karang Health Centre, Loktak Lake, Manipur. This distance usually takes 3-4 hours.” Republic World

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