Deliver Future: Parcelcopter 4.0 | Delivering vital medicines by drone
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Deliver Future: Parcelcopter 4.0 | Delivering vital medicines by drone

September 24, 2019


Our people need medicine. If they can’t get it, it means they don´t survive. Especially in areas with geographical challenges, like Ukerewe Island on the east side of Lake Victoria. More than 400,000 people live in Ukerewe District. And we face numerous diseases such as malaria, typhoid and schistosomiasis. Since we’re on an island, sometimes it´s simply bad luck that we don´t have any medicine because we aren´t able to get it delivered the same day. We’re responsible for distributing medicine in the Lake Victoria region. The last mile supply is difficult due to bad infrastructure. Our roads are very poor, especially in rural areas. We can go by lake, but the vessels are unreliable. And you don’t get diagnostic results on time. You don’t get the necessary medicines on time. There is a risk of dying. We thought about how we could improve delivery of health supplies, especially to hard-to-reach island areas. That’s where the Parcelcopter comes into play. The Parcelcopter can overcome many challenges, especially in areas that are not easily reachable. Parcelcopters always fly autonomously. Yet we can see where it is, so we can make the right decisions at the right time. The tilt rotor technology lets the drone travel vertically and change to transition mode. They can land in very small areas where you don’t have runways. The technology itself is innovative. It really addresses the challenges we have in Tanzania. In the case of a snake bite, or for a tetanus patient, we need medicine to be delivered quickly. The Parcelcopter not only deliver commodities fast, they can also help maintain the cold chain. We make sure the temperature is not compromised. We shall get the products to the patient without any loss in quality. How it works is easy. We design a mission, then we upload the mission to the drone. The drone goes to the destination autonomously. Like here, from Mwanza to Ukerewe Island. Samples are collected at the district hospital, and then they are taken to Bugando Medical Center on a weekly basis. But with the Parcelcopter project, they can be taken every two to three hours. They need to get the results as quickly as possible so that the patient’s treatment can start. I would like to take this opportunity to thank DHL, the GIZ under the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Wingcopter team. It was tough getting started, but now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. For the future, I would like us to keep the Parcelcopter and continue using it, because it’s a great help to us and our children. It would be great if this could be scaled throughout the country. This is a project that’s going to save a lot of lives. It will change the whole equation completely. This is going to be a big achievement, an ice breaker for drone technology in Tanzania, and all of Africa.

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