Drones will soon be used to deliver the life prolonging Anti-Retroviral-ARVs drugs to several landing sites in Kalangala District.
Both the Ministry of Health and Kalangala District Local Government have approved the use of drones to deliver the ARVs so as to increase access to residents Kalangala district, whose HIV prevalence rate stands at 16 percent has been struggling to raise sufficient resources to transport health workers and drugs to different landing sites.
Not less than Shillings 200,000 is required to transport a health worker on a fiber boat from the main Island to a nearby landing site. However, the health works couldn’t reach the more than 60 Islands because of inadequate resources.
However, this is likely to be thing of the past when drones start delivering ARVs thanks to the Sustainable Development Initiative project and Infectious Diseases Institute.
Under this project, health facilities will be required to establish a database of all HIV patients on different landing sites and a schedule indicting when each patient is supposed to receive the drugs. Once this is received, a drone will be dispatched to drop the medicine of each patient that will be distributed by Village health teams.
The Kalangala District Chairperson, Willy Lugoloobi, says the project will reduce on the usage of water transport and save them resources. He says they have already acquired the coordinates where the boxes of drugs will be dropped.
Lugoloobi cautions all people against unsafe sex practices, saying it would be difficult for the drone to carry huge drug supplies.
Samuel Katumba, the Project Coordinator Sustainable Development Initiative, says the program will not compromise the principle of confidentiality of patients since the Village health teams are mandated to swear an oath of secrecy.
He however, says they haven’t established the exact quantity of drugs the drones will carry. The best heavy lifting drone is Alta 8 from Freefly Systems. It has a 36-inch diameter wing-span and 8 powerful motors. The Alta 8 is capable of lifting up to 18 kilograms.