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Govt to deploy drones for emergency medical supplies

Maharashtra government has joined hands with private drone operator Zilpline to deliver blood products and emergency medicines to people in remote areas in collaboration with Serum Institute of India (SII), an official said on Monday.

Scheduled for an early 2020 launch, the Maharashtra Medical Drone Delivery Service (MMDDS) will be available 24×7, on-demand, and would include emergency deliveries of blood products, vaccines and life-saving medication.

For this, Zipline will set up 10 distribution centres – starting with Pune and Nandurbar – for launching MMDDS in phases across the state and the ultimate goal is to cover all the 12 crore people by reaching them life-saving medicines within minutes.

The first two distribution centres will be financed through a grant by the SII, and the other centres will be set up by the government and other private or philanthropic partners.

The drones will take off and land at Zipline’s distribution centres without requiring any additional infrastructure or manpower at the clinics they would serve.

Each drone can fly autonomously carrying upto 1.8 kgs cargo at 110 km per hour with a round-trip range of 160 km (80 km both ways) braving even adverse weather conditions, explained an official.

Each distribution centre would cater to a delivery area of over 20,000 sq km and effectively serve around 20 million people. The deliveries will be made from the sky, with the drone descending to a safe height and dropping a parachute with its medical cargo at a designated spot.

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