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This forum provides a place for members to ask questions, share experiences, coordinate activities, and discuss recent developments in immunization.

Discussions tagged UAV

Vanuatu: Transportation of Vaccines using UAS. Pre-Tender meeting and RFT Documents

Dear All I am happy to share the information below regarding the UAV for Vaccine Delivery Project in Vanuatu:  Ministry of Health of the Republic of Vanuatu, assessed by UNICEF, invites you to join the pre-tender (kick-off) meeting for MoH project number S1721: "Transportation of Vaccines and Medical Supplies using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or Drones", as part of the official issuance of the Tender Process for trialing the use of drones in Vanuatu for vaccine deliveries in 2018. This stage (Phase 2) of the Vanuatu Drone Trial seeks to contract the services of suitable individuals/companies to test their potential, as well as Ministry of Health and Civil Aviation Authority capabilities and protocols, to safely integrate cargo drones in the last-mile delivery of the existing supply chain, negotiate costs, and develop a business model for a longer and wider stage during 2019 (Phase 3), and onward if successful. Pre-Tender (kick-off) meeting: Morning Option: in-person OR virtual Date: Wednesday, 30 May 2018. 8:30 am Vanuatu Local Time (UTC+11) Location: Ministry of Health Malaria Conference Room. Rue Cornwall and Rue d'Artois. Port Vila- Vanuatu  OR join via Skype https://meet.lync.com/unicef-org/cvazquezpaez/9OIMVWKN Evening Option: virtual Date: Wednesday, 30 May 2018. 5:00 pm Vanuatu Local Time (UTC+11) Location: join via Skype https://meet.lync.com/unicef-org/cvazquezpaez/ZB324ULF   Tender documents and project information can be found in : http://unicefstories.org/drones/vanuatu/   Ridwan Gustiana UNICEF Vanuatu rgustiana@unicef.org     
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JSI White Paper on UAVs: What should you deliver by unmanned aerial systems?

Cross-posted from the JSI website with thanks! inSupply, JSI’s regional supply chain consulting center in East Africa, in partnership with Llamasoft and the Nichols Group, recently examined the potential for employing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to deliver life-saving and other commodities within a public health system. They examined the cost-effectiveness of UAVs versus a motorcycle-based system and other well-run forms of land transport, using three sets of data from African countries over 12 months and have prepared a white paper based on their analysis.  Executive summary: As more low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) explore opportunities to improve efficiency and performance in their public health supply chains and diagnostics networks, they face myriad choices about how best to use unmanned aerial systems (UASs) to improve public health outcomes and reach the last mile. JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. (JSI) and our partners LLamasoft and the Nichols Group wrote this paper to provide countries and public health stakeholders with objective guidance on how to make informed decisions about which health products to prioritize for delivery and by which type of UAS platform to achieve the six ‘rights’ of a supply chain. The team undertook a cost-effectiveness analysis to compare various transport options for a variety of delivery categories using UAS vs. well-managed traditional modes of last-mile delivery, such as land cruisers and motorcycles. The analysis took into account geography, UAS characteristics, and characteristics of products and their demand patterns. We also mined and analyzed 12 months of health-facility data from three country datasets in sub-Saharan Africa to identify five use cases that would allow us to define the cargo characteristics and examine costeffectiveness for each of the following product types: a) safe blood for transfusion; b) long-tail products (small quantity, unpredictable demand products); c) program and essential medicines; d) vaccines; and e) diagnostic specimens. Overall, our findings show that UAS cost-effectiveness is driven by the number of flights per year and increasing flight numbers is dependent on facility density within the UAS range area. Similarly, with the exception of safe blood for transfusion, the results clearly demonstrate that using UAS for single-product category deliveries is not optimal from a cost-effectiveness perspective, and that layering multiple use-cases will increase the UAS cost-effectiveness by increasing the number of flights the UAV will be used for. For safe blood for transfusions, small, fixed-wing UASs can offer both cost and speed/responsiveness advantages over land transport to deliver rare blood types and support-products on-demand. We estimate that for a region of average facility density, approximate annual costs to serve 500 health facilities will range from US$ 1–5 million, depending on the UAS and cargo categories. Ultimately, even projecting rapid improvements in cost and performance, most UASs are still 3+ years away from being transport-cost competitive with motorcycles. The case for using UASs must be examined within the context of the total system costs (considering factors such as inventory holding costs and capital investment for storage capacity), other supply chain objectives such as speed and availability, and broader health benefits. UAS cost-effectiveness is substantially driven by the number of flights per year that can defray fixed costs. Flight numbers can be increased by operating in areas of higher health 8 facility density and selecting UASs that have longer ranges. Flight numbers can also be increased by layering multiple use-cases. Unmanned aerial systems have significant potential to improve the availability of health products in hard-to-reach locations. Every potential use case must be considered individually factoring in geography, UAS characteristics, and product and demand characteristics. However, the following sets of factors are broadly indicative of a potential value-adding use case for UAS:  High density of health facilities (within range of UAS). Difficult to access by road (large proportion of year). High financial value, scarce, or high health value (e.g., life-saving) products. Unpredictable demand (at level of individual facility) products. Expensive, short shelf-life, or difficult to store at last-mile products. Here is a link to the paper: http://www.jsi.com/JSIInternet/Inc/Common/_download_pub.cfm?id=19145&lid=3    

White Paper on Cost Effectiveness of UAS for Cargo Delivery

As more low- and middle-income countries explore opportunities to improve their public health supply chains and diagnostics networks, knowing how best to use unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to improve reach in the last mile is critical. Under the inSupply project, JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., and our partners LLamasoft, Inc. and the Nichols Group provide objective guidance for countries and public health stakeholders on how to make informed decisions about which health products to prioritize for cost-effective delivery using UAS vs. well-managed traditional modes of last-mile delivery, such as land cruisers and motorcycles.  The analysis took into account geography, UAS characteristics, and characteristics of products and their demand patterns. The paper focuses on examining the cost-effectiveness for each of the following product types: safe blood for transfusion long-tail products (small quantity, unpredictable demand products) program and essential medicines vaccines diagnostic specimens The executive summary is attached and the full white paper can be downloaded here. Please let us know if you have any questions about this white paper or want to know more about our work.

Addressing Adoption and Sustainability of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in Public Health

Dear colleagues, Please find attached from the Interagency Supply Chain Group. Kind regards,
Hitesh
Coordinator for the Interagency Supply Chain Group (ISG)   Hitesh Hurkchand
Interagency Supply Chain Group
Hosted by the World Health Organization
Mobile: +1.917.975.9743 [WhatsApp, Viber]
Skype: hitesh_h
New York, New York

Vanuatu launches Pacific’s first drone trial - Delivering lifesaving vaccines and health supplies to remote communities

Port Vila, 14 June 2017: The Vanuatu Government will make history today by launching what may be the first ever trial in the Pacific to test the capacity, efficiency and effectiveness of drones to deliver lifesaving vaccines to inaccessible remote communities in Vanuatu. Vanuatu will test Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), commonly referred to as “drones”, and the services offered by that industry using an important commodity - lifesaving vaccines. Successful applicants are being challenged to demonstrate the value and suitability of the drones in solving a key development issue – the supply of vital vaccines to children in otherwise inaccessible communities. “The Parliament of Vanuatu is proud to be hosting the national launch that will pilot the wide application of the drone technology to solving logistical constraints faced by a small island development state like Vanuatu,” stated Hon. Esmon Saimon, Speaker of Vanuatu Parliament. “I would like to especially acknowledge the Ministries of Public Utilities and Infrastructure and Health for taking the lead on such an important project to help us in delivering vaccines to remote rural communities of Vanuatu,” he added. “UNICEF is excited to work with the Government of Vanuatu to support this initiative. Ensuring vaccines are consistently available in isolated and remote communities is one of the keys to sustaining high rates of immunisation. We welcome innovative measures to ensure that every child is reached,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett. Director General of the Ministry of Health, George Taleo stated, “This is a milestone for Vanuatu. If the trial shows that vaccine delivery using drones can work, and that it can be integrated into our existing national and provincial systems, then it will change the way we operate forever. If it works, we will allow us to better ensure availability of health supplies to our people even at community aid post levels.” Increasing availability, performance and declining cost of drones offer innovative opportunities for applications in challenging environments such as Vanuatu. An archipelago of 83 islands that run 1,600 kilometres north to south, 65 of which are inhabited and around 20 of which have airfields and established roads, Vanuatu faces considerable logistical challenges to reach, engage with and support remote communities. This initiative explores options that allow the government to enhance service delivery and significantly reduce costs as it does not require massive investment in infrastructure and transport. The trial will be conducted in three phases: a technical trial in August when drones will be flying over North Efate Island and scored against various performance criterias; a request for proposal through which vaccines will be delivered to health staff on targeted islands in February and March 2018; and a three to six month use of UAVs in regular provincial deliveries of health supplies later in 2018. The initiative is led by the Government through Ministry of Health and Ministry of Infrastructure & Public Utilities, with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund. ### About UNICEF UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicefpacific.org. Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook About the Parliament of Vanuatu The Parliament of Vanuatu was established by the Constitution in 1980. Its functioning is derived from the British Westminster system, and includes the principle of parliamentary supremacy, within the limits of the Constitution. Parliament is composed of 52 members, directly elected by citizens from multi-member constituencies for a four-year term. For more information on the work of the Parliament, visit: https://parliament.gov.vu/ About the Vanuatu Ministry of Health The Vanuatu Ministry of Health is guided by the Vanuatu Health Sector Strategy (2010 – 2016). The mission of the Ministry of Health is to protect and promote the health of all people in Vanuatu. The values it seeks to uphold are consumer focus, equity, quality, integrity and efficiency. Its vision is for an integrated and decentralised health system that promotes efficient and effective and equitable health services for the good health and general wellbeing of all people in Vanuatu. About the Vanuatu Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities The Vanuatu Ministry of Infrastructure & Public Utilities has a vision to effectively contribute to Vanuatu’s social and economic development through provision of professional and efficient transport infrastructure and services. Its mission statement is to provide efficient and effective infrastructure and services related to roads, wharves, airfields, ports, meteorology and geo-hazards, civil aviation, water, power and telecommunications. For more information on the Vanuatu drone challenge and application process, please go to: http://unicefstories.org/drones/vanuatu/  For more information, please contact: Rebecca Olul, UNICEF Vanuatu Field Office, +678 24655, +678 77 666 04, rolul@unicef.org Donna Hoerder, UNICEF Pacific Office, +679 9265518/ +677 21242/ 7424203, dhoerder@unicef.org

Drone ports to fly vaccine to remote sites

I have struggled unsuccessfully to link this message to a remark made by Soren Spanner a week or two ago asking whether anyone has tried to distribute vaccine to remote sites by drone? I'm surprised that a debate on this subject has not yet reached TECHNET. Luckily the global debate seems healthy! Take this link for example sent to me by Anne McArthur, my wife, over a distance of 2.4 meters just now: www.fosterandpartners.com/news/archive/2015/09/proposals-for-droneport-project-launched-to-save-lives-and-build-economies/ Interesting. As mentioned by Soren, the altitude should be in our 'cool-interest', the range is already enough to serve zones with difficult access, the flights could be automatically navigated and the load of a kilogram could carry an interesting quantity of vaccine. Assuming that vaccine continues to be administered by a qualfied team of medical personnel then the main benefit would be the elimination of the cold-chain equipment burden for remote outreach immuniization. The scenario might be, for example, a two-week circuit made with porters and animals to a group of mountain villages - less to carry and drones to meet the team as they arrive at the villages. The benefits and the costs need careful assessment once the technology is shown to be successful.

Can UAVs be used to transport vaccines to remote health centers?

an interview with MIT’s UAV vaccine delivery team Earlier this year, Dr. George Barbastathis and five graduate students—Nikhil Vadhavkar, Adam Pan, Vyas Ramanan, Andrew Warren, and Justin Lee—from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were awarded $100,000 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through its Grand Challenges Explorations initiative. The team hopes to demonstrate that vaccines can be transported to remote health centers using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Op.ti.mize spoke to the team about their proposal and the challenges they face. What gave you the idea for your proposal? NV: We were taking a class in global health innovation and had the good fortune to hear some really far-out ideas. After the class, we discussed how interesting it would be to do something like that. Our idea was sparked by one of those “wouldn’t it be cool if…?” discussions, and so we started refining this idea of using UAVs to transport vaccines to remote villages. UAV technology is advancing very quickly right now, and decreasing in price all the time. For example, communities such as DIY Drones have been successful in designing and building low-cost UAVs using open-source software and off-the-shelf parts. We wanted to tie this back to global health and really take advantage of the UAV revolution. Have UAVs been used in health care contexts before? AP: There have been a few health care projects that have made use of UAV technology. One of them was basically the reverse of our project: health care workers in the field, without access to complex testing equipment, using UAVs to fly blood samples back to a central health clinic where the tests could be performed. There have been other examples where UAVs have been used in emergency situations such as search and rescue, and by law enforcement, but we don’t have any knowledge of UAVs being used to transport vaccines. How will your plan work? AW: When a health care worker at a remote location needs more vaccines, they send an SMS text message to the UAV with details of what they require and when they need it. The system then forwards this information to the relevant health care worker at the central clinic, who loads the UAV with the requested vaccine stock. After loading and refueling the UAV, the central clinic health care worker sends a launch command SMS to the UAV. The UAV then takes off, flies fully autonomously to the preloaded GPS coordinates associated with the remote health care worker’s phone number, drops off the vaccines, and then returns to the central clinic. What are the advantages of using UAVs to distribute vaccines? VR: Last-mile distribution of vaccines is a critical issue in much of the developing world. In mountainous areas, in places with rainy seasons that make rivers impassable and wash out roads, delivering vaccines to remote health centers by a car or truck is a real challenge. Delivering vaccines by air is a simple way to alleviate these geographical problems. AW: Also, when you send a vehicle on a long and difficult journey, you need to make a pretty large shipment to justify the high transport costs. When you send a UAV, you can deliver the exact amount of vaccine that the health care worker needs, so there is much less chance of overstocking or associated vaccine wastage. This is really useful if you are vaccinating only a small number of children each week, in a location where you cannot store vaccines for long periods. Having the ability to regularly transport small amounts of vaccines—whenever they are needed—is a big advantage. What are the limitations? NV: One of the biggest limitations is distance. We envisage building a simple UAV that is small and robust, that can deliver payloads of up to a kilogram about 40 kilometers. But if you want to fly 150 kilometers and make multiple or larger deliveries, you need to build a bigger, more expensive UAV and a more complicated system. AW: We see our UAV as being used in particular scenarios, such as when the road to a remote health center in the mountains is washed out in the rainy season, and road delivery becomes impossible. So we don’t see the UAV completely replacing other distribution methods in the vaccine supply chain, but we do see it as having very useful applications in specific contexts. In places such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where villages are scattered and separated by very large distances, traditional forms of transportation may be better. How will you customize your solution to work in the developing world? AP: One of the things we are working on is enabling health care workers to control the UAV using SMS messages. We’re hoping that this will help to make the system as straightforward to use as possible, and that all health care workers will need to do is state in the text message the amount of vaccines they require and when they need them to be delivered. Aside from loading up the UAV at the central health clinic, very little technical expertise will be required to operate the UAVs. How will you test your proposal? VR: A lot of our initial testing is being done on airstrips here in the USA. Once we have a working system, we’re going to field-test the UAV in a more realistic scenario so we can see how it performs and how successfully health care workers can be trained to work with it. We will also use this opportunity to collect data regarding cultural and governmental challenges to be considered when implementing a full-scale version of our solution. One challenge might be that countries are resistant to using UAVs because they associate them so strongly with their military uses. I think a lot of what we are going to do is build trust in this sort of system; having a working proof-of-concept will go a long way towards this. The team aims to complete their project by October 2013. For more information, please email Dr. George Barbastathis (gbarb@mit.edu). We encourage your questions or comments. Please click reply at the bottom of the page.
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