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Nitin Gadkari unveils first prototype of drone for human organ transport

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, on Saturday, unveiled the first prototype for drone transportation of human organs in India. This prototype aims to revolutionise the last-mile transportation of organs and use drones in moving the harvested organs to facilitate quick organ transplants in hospitals.

Gadkari, while unveiling the prototype virtually from New Delhi, said, “Understanding the importance of speed and seamless transport of organs, we will soon need innovation in the logistics of transportation of organs. And one such welcome suggestion is the use of drones.”

The minister added that the issue of logistics for organ transportation could be resolved through better land and air connectivity. He said that his ministry had already initiated measures to improve the infrastructure and road infrastructure projects like the Bharatmala Pariyojana, which will be a great asset to transport organs across India.

The minister also claimed that the Centre, under the leadership of PM Modi, understood the importance of creating infrastructure not only for promoting business and trade but also in terms of saving lives and improving healthcare. “This is a very innovative approach to solve the problem of transportation and I appreciate MGM Healthcare in being part of the research and development,” Gadkari said.

Prashanth Rajagopalan, director, MGM Healthcare, which has co-created the prototype drone technology, said, “At present, drones can be used to move the box containing the organs up to a distance of 20 km.” MGM Healthcare has entered into a tie-up with a city-based drone company for shifting the organs, Rajagopalan added.

Rajagopalan also said with the remarkable achievement of 500-plus transplants, the hospital is further committed to making India a global medical hub by investing in the latest technologies and best clinical talent for better clinical outcomes.

Gadkari, while felicitating Dr KR Balakrishnan, director, Institute of Heart and Lung Transplantation, MGM Healthcare, and his team for performing over 500 heart and lung transplants, said, “This achievement not only gives us a sense of pride but puts India on a global map for creating a benchmark. In the transportation of organs, road infrastructure also plays a major role. The golden quadrilateral, a national highway connecting four major cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata – will be very useful for this cause. The transport time will now be shortened.”

Ma Subramanian, State Health Minister, commended the prototype and said, “Chennai and MGM Healthcare is a frontrunner in the organ transplant programme and is at par with the very best in the world today.”

He added, “For organ harvesting, infrastructure will be upgraded in 36 government medical colleges in the State and also the district government hospitals. Transplant surgeries in government hospitals will also be upscaled.”

Balakrishnan said, “We have completed 514 heart and lung transplants including over 200 transplants over the last two years despite lockdowns. We treated over 350 ECMO patients, the highest in the country. We have also performed over 100 paediatric transplants and over 4,600 interventional cases, free of cost in association with Aishwarya Trust – ‘Caring for Little Hearts’ and completed over 220 procedures under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme.”

“This was possible due to the tremendous support and expertise of the team, government bodies and transport teams,” he said.

Ravikumar R, associate clinical lead, Cardiology & Heart Failure Program, MGM Healthcare noted that heart failure is an under-recognised problem. The quality of life and longevity of end-stage heart failure patients not responding to conventional therapy can be improved by advanced procedures like heart transplant and the Left Ventricular Assist Device. Business Today

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