UN SDG #3 Good Health and Well-being UN SDG #3
UN SDG #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities UN SDG #11

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Drone Delivery of Medical Supplies to Mountain Populations

The terrain of the US makes it incredibly difficult to transport medical resources to populations living in mountainous locations. Appalachians are a particularly exposed population in need of health resources living in less accessible locations. Drone medical supply delivery is already being used in counties globally and should be used in the US.

challenge

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Drone Delivery of Medical Supplies to Mountain Populations

The terrain of the US makes it incredibly difficult to transport medical resources to populations living in mountainous locations. Appalachians are a particularly exposed population in need of health resources living in less accessible locations. Drone medical supply delivery is already being used in counties globally and should be used in the US.
25M
people impacted
$2T
potential funding
the problem
Nature and Context

In Appalachia, residents are deficits in health resources and health status. Many people are affected by health concerns including high levels of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, and diabetes.

According to Rural Health Information Hub, 'most drone use in rural healthcare takes place outside of the United States, as other countries’ laws provide more flexibility in drone experimentation.' Using drones to deliver life-saving medical supplies in medical emergencies could assist by expediting emergency medical supplies with just in time deliveries will save lives and improve the community healthcare.

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ideas
Ideas Description

California-based start-up called Zipline could be a potential tech solution to solve this with a fleet of small drones.

The two founders, Keller Rinaudo and William Hetzler, were inspired when an aid-worker friend developed a database of people needing urgent blood transfusions in Tanzania, but had no way to transport the blood. The system is based on a fleet of 15 box-sized aircraft, each with twin electric motors, GPS receivers and a 3.5-pound payload. The aircraft has a round-trip range of 75 miles – triple that of the average quadcopter used to transport medical supplies – and can race at an impressive 62 miles per hour.

When it nears its destination, it drops its parachute-carrying payload and returns to station base, where the battery and SIM card with a pre-planned route are switched for the next mission. Zipline has now signed its first contract with the Rwandan government. In its first phase, it plans to make 50 to 150 deliveries of blood a day to 21 transfusing facilities within a 47-mile radius, later adding vaccines and other urgent supplies.

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