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Health Ministries Should Consider 3 Elements When Deciding To Invest In UAVs To Deliver Health Care

Devex: Opinion: Your guide to investing in UAVs for delivering health care
Yasmin Chandani, director of inSupply, and David Sarley, senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“[Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)], also known as drones, have become a hot topic in public health for their potential in delivering life-saving medicines, blood, or vaccines to people in remote areas. But … not enough [of the conversation] comes from the perspective of health ministry officials, who have to make hard choices with little information. … The three most important elements that affect the decision to invest are the priority health objectives — which determines the product and demand — geography, and the characteristics of the UAV itself. … The decision whether to purchase UAVs offers the opportunity for a strategic system redesign that can optimize service levels while considering costs. And of course, money is not the only concern of supply chains. Speed, availability, and broader health benefits matter too, especially when it comes to opportunities for saving lives. … Our aim is to ensure countries are in the driver’s seat for deciding when and how to invest in UAVs…” (2/7).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.