The economic and operational value of using drones to transport vaccines

Background: Immunization programs in low and middle income countries (LMICs) face numerous challenges in getting life-saving vaccines to the people who need them. As unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology has progressed in recent years, potential use cases for UAVs have proliferated due to their ability to traverse difficult terrains, reduce labor, and replace fleets of vehicles that require costly maintenance. Methods: Using a HERMES-generated simulation model, we performed sensitivity analyses to assess the impact of using an unmanned aerial system (UAS) for routine vaccine distribution under a range of circumstances reflecting variations in geography, population, road conditions, and vaccine schedules. We also identified the UAV payload and UAS costs necessary for a UAS to be favorable over a traditional multi-tiered land transport system (TMLTS). Results: Implementing the UAS in the baseline scenario improved vaccine availability (96% versus 94%) and produced logistics cost savings of $0.08 per dose adm

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Added on: 12 July, 2016
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