According to sUAS News, the humanitarian application of ‘drones-for-good’ is a compelling use case and Martek Marine (UK) has been selected by UNICEF & the Vanuatu Government to demonstrate their capability for vaccine delivery. Martek will self-fund the trial which will take place on Efate Island from 21-25 August 2017.
Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands separated over 1600km, 65 of which are inhabited. Many islands are only accessed by boat and mobile vaccination teams are frequently required to walk to communities carrying all equipment to undertake the vaccination for children and communities in remote areas. The climate, lack of infrastructure and topography make this an arduous task.
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Vanuatu faces considerable vaccine supply chain logistical and access challenges and its health facilities are constantly faced with a frequent lack of stock. The trial aims to assess technologies and proven safe operators that can help reduce the vaccine supply chain disruption and enhance service delivery, without requiring massive investment in infrastructure and transport. It will also provide the opportunity to explore and understand the wider application and potential of UAVs in the Pacific region long term.
Martek’s CEO Paul Luen commented, “The opportunity to deploy our unique capabilities for the good of the people of Vanuatu was an opportunity we had to grasp. Our proven BVLOS expertise & the manned aviation standards which we operate our business to, make us an ideal long-term delivery partner. We’re certain we’ll deliver UNICEF & the Vanuatu Government a reliable UAS cargo delivery service to enable long-term deployment at national level”