New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Saturday launched the Medicines From The Sky project in Telangana's Vikarabad, a first of it kind project which is aimed at delivering medicines, vaccines and other essential products to remote areas through drones. Scindia, after the inauguration, said the 'Medicines from the Sky' project will be taken up on a pilot basis in 16 green zones in Telangana and scaled up to the national level based on data.

Launching ‘Medicines from the Sky' project, Scindia said the new Drone Policy brought out by the NDA government at the Centre recently eased rules regarding drone operations in the country by reducing the number of forms that need to be filled to operate them from 25 to 5 and decreasing the types of the fee charged from the operator from 72 to 4. Under the Green zone, no permission is needed to fly drones. Whereas permissions are needed in the Yellow zone while Red Zones are no-fly areas.

In 16 Green Zones, this 'Medicines from the Sky' project will be taken up. The data will be analysed for three months. We along with the Health Ministry, IT Ministry, state government and the Centre will together analyse the data and make a model for the whole country. Today is a revolutionary day not only for Telangana but for the whole country,” the minister said.

What is Medicines from the Sky Project?

The ‘Medicine from the Sky' is an initiative of Telangana in partnership with the World Economic Forum, NITI Aayog, and HealthNet Global (Apollo Hospitals). The project was launched on experimental Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights for the delivery of vaccines using the identified airspace of the Vikarabad district.

Under this project, Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights will be used for the delivery of vaccines and drugs using the identified airspace of the Vikarabad district. The program will last for 24 days where four batches would carry out sorties for six days each. The drones would be carrying vaccine cold storage boxes equipped with temperature sensors and data loggers to record the performance.

In the first two days, the flights will only be transporting essentials within the Visual Line of Sight (VLOS). And for its next phase, it will involve delivering medicines in BVLOS in isolated areas.

How the drones used Medicines from the Sky project work?

PHFI and Marut Drones have jointly designed this drone, especially for medical payload. It can carry 4 types of boxes and each of the boxes can maintain a different temperature. It can carry vaccines at 2-8 degrees Celsius, it can carry blood at 15-24 degrees Celsius & in one trip it can supply whatever a primary health care centre requires

How it can boost India's COVID-19 Vaccination drive?

Amid the growing demand for the COVID-19 vaccines and other drugs, the use of drones to deliver these essential items could be a game-changer in India's COVID vaccination drive. As per the plan, (BVLOS) drone flights will be used to deliver vaccines, other drugs to various PHCs and sub-centres, where the drones will land after taking off from Government Area Hospital. In the case of the ongoing Covid vaccine inoculation drive, such a system can improve access to healthcare in rural and remote locations.

An in-house app has been developed, which would allow the team at the pick-up point to receive a message about the requirements from the landing location. For example, the primary health centre places a request via an app for vaccine supply or medicines from the district hospital and pick-up of samples in return. The team receives the message and loads the same at the drone’s central hub.

The drone takes off after regular checks. Once the drone is about to land, the official at the landing site will receive a notification on the app after which the person can collect the delivery at the drop-off point by submitting an OTP. After the required pick-up for the return flight, the drone flies back notifying the app.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan