Germans successfully test drones to deliver medicine in Tanzania’s remote Island
By Rolex Owino
Three German organisations have successfully tested the use of a drone to deliver medical supplies in Tanzania’s remotest Island, within lake Victoria’s Ukwere Island.
German drone manufacturer Wingcopter, DHL and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH successfully tested the delivery of medicines using the autonomous DHL Parcelcopter 4.0.
The drone flew the 60 km flight from the mainland to the island in 40 minutes on average. A total of 2,200 km was covered and roughly 2,000 flight minutes recorded during the pilot project.
Medical care for the roughly 400,000 residents of the Ukerewe island district of Lake Victoria, for instance, is severely limited. This is partly due to the poor infrastructure and challenging terrain. Six hours are needed to cover the overland route of 240 km. That makes it nearly impossible to provide emergency medication, or to quickly refill cool chain commodities that are out of stock.
A key feature is that the DHL Parcelcopter 4.0 barely needs any infrastructure as it takes off and lands vertically. After delivering its cargo, it can easily be loaded with blood and laboratory samples to take back to the mainland.
In the future, the Parcelcopter could therefore not only improve logistics in the public health sector, since it also has the potential to help prevent crises worldwide. For instance, enabling an early response for curbing the spread of viral diseases, such as Ebola.
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH works on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It supports the German Government in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development.
Through its work, it assists people and societies in shaping their own future and improving living conditions. Initial ideas for the Deliver Future project were generated in the GIZ lab of tomorrow. The project was implemented within the Improved Access to High-quality and Affordable Medicines in Africa and South-East Asia programme.
Wingcopter is an award-winning German manufacturer of innovative drones for logistics, surveying, monitoring and inspection. In order to achieve a new dimension of efficiency and close the market gap between commercial drones, helicopters and fixed wing aircrafts – the start-up has specially developed and patented a unique tilting rotor mechanism. This combines the advantages of two drone types into one. Hence, the electrically powered Wingcopter drones can take off and land vertically like multicopters – within limited of spaces.
Source: African Strategic-Ventures (ASV) & The Exchange.