KALANGALA, Uganda, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Uganda is delivering HIV medicine by drone in an archipelago in Lake Victoria, a pilot programme aiming to improve the transport of medical supplies for the country’s health system, which faces chronic shortages.
The trial is funded by pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), and run by the government-run Infectious Diseases Institute. It delivers HIV drugs from a hospital to patients in rural hamlets in Kalangala, an 84-island-archipelago.
Other African countries like Ghana and Rwanda are already using drones to improve healthcare delivery.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
If the trial is successful it may be adopted on a larger scale to help to improve delivery of drugs and medical supplies for Uganda’s public healthcare system, which faces under-staffing and shortages of basic medicines such as vaccines and other drugs as well as medical supplies.
Kalangala’s soaring HIV rate, estimated at about 27% of the population on the islands, is partly because of nomadic fisherman who move from one island to another.
Deliveries of HIV medicines to the islands by boat are often disrupted by storms.