This innovative initiative will overcome geographical barriers and revolutionise the delivery of essential medical supplies and services to curb the country’s preventable maternal deaths.
The leading causes of maternal deaths in Botswana are excessive bleeding, complications after abortion and hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. Last-mile delivery of lifesaving medical products and supplies can be challenging, with long distances between lower and higher-level facilities. This is heightened in hard-to-reach places where there may be a shortage of vehicles, inaccessible roads, and inefficient supply chain systems.
Drones are expected to drastically reduce the delivery time from hours to minutes, improving the delivery of obstetric emergency supplies and thus saving more lives.
In May, the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), the Botswana government and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) joined forces to launch Botswana’s first drone delivery project, called ‘Drones For Health’. With this initiative, Botswana also became the first country in southern Africa and third on the African continent, after Ghana and Rwanda, to pilot drone technology for health care support.