Researchers using drones to deliver medical care to remote communities
Published Friday, May 24, 2019 2:21PM EDT
Bringing health care solutions to remote, third world communities is all part of a unique first-of-its-kind research project that involved one local researcher.
Madagascar is a island county off the coast of East Africa. It has many remote villages, poverty and a lack of accessible health care.
Elysée Nouvet, a medical anthropologist from Western University’s School of Health Studies, says, “In areas of Madagascar there is no road access it can take hours and even days before you can reach a hospital.”
Nouvet says many people in the country suffer from Tuberculosis, which is a growing and deadly infectious disease and one that’s hard to diagnose and treat in remote areas, until now.
Researchers are using a drone for the first time ever as part of a health care solution in Madagascar.
“It’s a suite of technology that’s being used to increase coverage of tuberculosis diagnoses and treatment,” says Nouvet.
The drones are used to pick up patient samples from more than 50 remote villages across Madagascar.
Those samples then get flown back to hospital for testing and if it’s positive the treatment gets flown back in a drone and patients can then begin treatment.
The drone then flies back on a monthly basis with the tuberculosis medications.
The two-year drone study has been so successful in diagnosing and treating patients that the research team hopes to look at this technology for other health solutions in remote areas globally and locally.