A healthier & livelier future – Deliver Future has the potential to revolutionise medical supply in rural Africa

„Our people need medicine, if they cannot get them they’re gone.“

Over the last two years, the third lab of tomorrow innovation workshop has resulted in many success stories to be told. This is one of them:

Whenever a drone lands on their island it still is an unusual and exciting sight for many islanders – only a few weeks ago they had never heard let alone seen anything like it. However, these unusual flying objects might be their guarantee of a healthier and livelier future.

Learn more: https://www.giz.de/en/press/70080.html

Deliver Future: Parcelcopter 4.0 | Delivering vital medicines by drone

In many regions last-mile-logistics, the transportation to the end user, poses an enormous challenge. Bad to non-existing infrastructure and rough terrain only allow restricted medical care – a reality for the 400.000 people of Ukerewe, an island district in Lake Victoria, Tansania. Emergency medical care as well as the supply of short-lived medicine is not possible as its overland transportation takes over six hours for the 240km route.

“Since we’re on an island sometimes it’s simply bad luck that we don’t have any medicine (...),“ habitant of Ukerewe island.

The pilot project Deliver Future aims to revolutionise medical supply in remote regions, like Ukerewe, by employing specialised autonomous drones. Made possible by three experts in their field: The German drone manufacturer Wingcopter, DHL and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Development Ministry (BMZ) successfully tested the delivery of drugs by drones to the islands in Lake Victoria for six months. In cooperation with the dedicated local partners, the regional commissioner of Mwanza, Dar Teknohama Business Incubator, Medical Store Department Tanzania, TCAA and Ministry of Health, the project facilitated profound progress of the medical supply chain.

The "DHL Parcelcopter 4.0" manages the 60 km route from the mainland to the island in an average of only 40 minutes – saving three to five hours. In total, more than 2,200 km were flown in the pilot project and about 2,000 flight minutes were made. Its special features allow the "DHL Parcelcopter 4.0“ to start and to land vertically requiring little infrastructure next to a small landing area. For the first time worldwide the aircraft is able to deliver medicines over long distances and to return laboratory samples, enabling doctors in hospitals on the mainland to make quick diagnoses and to provide island inhabitants with the needed medicines within a few short hours.

The future use of the parcel drone could not only solve the problem of last mile logistics: it has the potential to limit global crises. The spread of viral diseases such as Ebola could thus be combated at an early stage.

An outlook to where Deliver Future is heading to. The team aims to expand the supply network to further islands of Lake Victoria and to use the collected data to improve the technology and its implementation. Further ambitions concern the support of educational training and evaluation possible career prospects for the local population.

The path to this success story was paved in 2016 when more than 50 experts from the private, public, and social sector from Germany and the African continent came together during the lab of tomorrow to develop sustainable solutions for drug supply in rural African regions. Since then, more and more local actors and international experts have joined the cooperation to support the project.

Watch the amazing footage showing how Deliver Future might impact the future of a whole continent and beyond: https://youtu.be/id00S4L0P5A

Learn more about the 3. lab of tomorrow: https://www.lab-of-tomorrow.com/challenge/10

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