The North Eastern Council (NEC), a regional planning body of eight northeastern states, is planning to deliver life saving medicines through drones in inaccessible areas of the northeastern states, a government official said.
In fact, there have been usages of drone technology by the NEC for transportation of seeds and agricultural products in the region.
“We are planning to start a pilot project to deliver life saving medicines through drones. We are still at the experimenting stage. We are trying it out first in Shillong,” NEC Planning Advisor, Calvin H. Kharshiing told journalists on the sides of a regional consultation to promote health sector preparedness for response in the northeastern states.
Disclosing that the government has sanctioned Rs 10 lakh for this particular project at the initial stage, he said, “I am told that this will be the first time that we are going to deliver medical services through drones.”
Noting that other northeastern states have also been equipped with drone technology for the same purpose, Kharshiing said, “Inaccessible population due to connectivity problem, shortage of medical personnel and lack of access to medical supplies are some of the major challenges northeastern region is facing in present times.”
Earlier, in his keynote address at the regional consultation meet, Kharshiing said, “We are living in an age of multiplicity of natural disasters and there are unique challenges in the context of the northeast for the health sector, including shortage of trained manpower, access to sparsely populated remote and far flung areas, and governance.”
He further added, “The strength of the northeast is its local communities as a lot of work in the times of emergencies is done by them. It will be imperative to include them while planning and programming.”
The consultation was jointly organised by the NEC and Unicef in collaboration with Oxfam India. The objective of the consultation is to deliberate on a ‘Regional Strategy for Public Health Preparedness for Response in the North East’.
Under this initiative, NEC and Unicef, in collaboration with Oxfam India, will support the northeastern states to strengthen their plans to prepare for and respond to public health risks in emergencies as well as in public health emergencies.