In Rwanda, to deliver blood as quickly as possible, a specialized UAV base was set up in Muhanga, a town about 50 km from Kigali. It can deliver blood bags within a 75 km radius in 30 minutes. This is a vital time saver, since it used to take ambulances several hours to reach one of the 21 hospitals available in this department. UAVs can carry out up to 150 deliveries per day independently.

The Zips UAVs, weighing 13 kg, are aeroplanes with a wingspan of two metres. They are driven by an electric motor and have a maximum range of 150 km. They can carry 1.5 kg, the equivalent of three bags of blood. Their cruising speed is 70 km/h.

Drones to save lives (not not kill)

According to the World Health Organization, the availability of blood transfusions is one of Africa’s main problems. Postpartum hemorrhage on the continent often leads to death.

In Rwanda, experiments with the Zips drone began in late 2016. Since then, 750 flights have been made, with the same chance of saving lives.

UAVs are increasingly used for medical applications. Experiments are being carried out in the Vanuatu archipelago to distribute vaccines in the most inaccessible islands. Experiments are also being carried out to transport a defibrillator to the area in the event of cardiac arrest as soon as possible.

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