Blue Dart that one knew as your neighbourhood courier service provider is now into something timely and socially relevant. Blue Dart has formed the Med-Express Consortium for the delivery of vaccines and emergency medical supplies to remotest parts of India with the help of drones.
The initiative, which happens to be a collaboration between the government of Telangana, World Economic Forum, Niti Aayog and Healthnet Global, is rightly called ‘Medicine from the sky’. In fact, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has granted the project with necessary exemptions and rights to fly the drones on an experimental basis in the state of Telangana.
The idea is to have an alternate route to deliver health care items such as medicines, COVID-19 vaccines, units of blood, diagnostic specimens and other life-saving equipment. The drones will carry such essentials from distribution points to specific location and back.
Blue Dart Med-Express drone flights will enable deliveries from district medical stores and blood banks to primary health centres (PHCs), community health centres (CHCs), blood storage units and from PCHs/ CHCs to central diagnostic laboratories.
According to Balfour Manuel, MD of Blue Dart, “While we reach out to over 35000 locations all over the country, this initiative will mean deep penetration of vaccines.” Rama Devi Lanka, director, Emerging Technologies and officer on special duty, ITE&C Department, Government of India, says, “With Covid 19 pandemic wrecking existing supply chains, adopting such disruptive technologies is the need of the hour.”
Adds Jayesh Ranjan, principal secretary ITE&C Department, Government of Telangana, “The project is one of the first such programmes in the country where multiple drones would fly BVLOS to establish their value proposition for the healthcare supply chain. The vision is to ensure healthcare equity for rural areas.” He says Telangana is the most pro-active states to adopt new technologies, and Medicine from the sky is one such initiative.