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Drones for Health reaches more North West villages

16 Mar 2023

Xaixai, Nxauxau, Khwai and Mababe are some of the remote and hard to reach areas in the North West and Okavango districts that will benefit from the second phase of the Drones for Health project.

Apprising councillors of the project, Ngami District Health Management Team (DHMT) coordinator, Dr Sandra Maripe-Ebutswe said the Ministry of Health decided to include the two districts in the second phase after a successful roll-out of the pilot project in Palapye in 2021. 

The Drones for health project entails the use of small drones for timely and efficient transportation of medical commodities to hard-to-reach areas including Xaixai, Qangwa, Nxauxau, Seronga, Beetsha and Gudingwa in Okavango and Khwai, Mababe, Sankoyo, Kareng and Somelo in the North West District. 

Dr Maripe-Ebutswe said they had already formed a technical working group and that a capacity building workshop had been conducted for members. In addition, she said a benchmarking trip to Rwanda and Scotland had been undertaken and that the scoping and mapping of the two districts’ health facilities had been completed. 

She also said that community engagements and perception assessments had been conducted. 

The projectwould accelerate health care delivery to hard to reach areas as well as address disparities that existed at low-tier health care facilities, she said. 

She added the drones would transport medical commodities and supplies, laboratory services and samples as well as redistributing commodities and supplies between health facilities. 

“The drones will improve health care delivery as they will address terrain constraints and challenges of limited resources such as vehicles,” she said, adding that would as a result reduce preventable deaths and improve logistics and supply chain management. 

Communities, she said, would also benefit from the project as they would have access to quality health services in a timely manner. 

For their part, councillors welcomed the project, saying it would transform the health system. 

They said the use of drones would ensure timely delivery of health care services. 

However, they questioned the security of the drones and urged authorities to engage communities so that they understood their importance. 

However Dr Maripe assured them that the drones were programmed to take-off and land at specified health facilities as the expectation was that a health officer would receive the commodities and ensure that they carried back another load of supplies. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Esther Mmolai

Location : MAUN

Event : council session

Date : 16 Mar 2023