Startup launches drone-based healthcare network trial in Arunachal

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New Delhi, August 15 (IANS): A Bengaluru-based startup on Monday launched a pilot project to use drones to deliver top-quality health services to tribal and rural communities in Arunachal Pradesh.

The project will take place in Seppa, a town in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, by startup Redwing Labs, which will help deliver medical supplies up to eight times faster than road logistics.

Redwing Labs would supply aMade in India hybrid vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drones and perform end-to-end operations for the project.

The healthcare drone network is being set up on a limited experimental basis to pilot aerial healthcare deliveries in the state. The network would allow emergency diagnosis and treatment at local health centers.

“We hope this trial will provide quantifiable data points on cost and supply chain behavior for drones in public healthcare to kickstart mass adoption. We are thrilled and deeply grateful to the SAMRIDH initiative supported by USAID and the World Economic Forum for their support in this project,” said Anshul Sharma, CEO and co-founder of Redwing Labs in a statement.

India began trials and pilots of healthcare drone deliveries in 2021. Several states including Telangana, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha and Uttarakhand have conducted pilots and experimental flights.

The drones carried multiple health products, including vaccines, essential medicines and diagnostic samples. Airline supply chains have immense potential to solve last mile health challenges and advance SDG-3 in rural, tribal and semi-urban areas.

By enabling care at the local level, the drone network aims to reduce out-of-pocket expenses (OOPE) for patients, increase vaccination rates and improve welfare gains. This experimental network would be accompanied by an impact assessment study to understand the cost-benefit and health impact of using drones in the Indian public health system.

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