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In A First For India, Drones To Be Used To Deliver Blood Bags; All You Need To Know

In a study, 10 units of whole blood samples from Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) and the Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) were transported

General News
| Written By
Eashaan Dhillon
Blood donation Drones

Image: ANI

Drones in the present day are not only used for military warfare but also for civilian purposes. It can be used for transportation of material and payload from one place to another. One of the most important features of these devices is that they can be utilised in emergency medical situations to supply blood banks as well as vaccines and medications.

In a validation study, 10 units of whole blood samples from Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) and the Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) were transported on the first flight. This drone sortie was carried out at the Jaypee Institute of Information Technology (JIIT), Noida, in a visual line of sight. Dr. Rajiv Bahl, Director-General of The Indian Council Medical Research (ICMR) said that the I-drone was first used during the COVID pandemic to distribute vaccines in unreachable areas around the country and he also said that blood and blood-related products which are supposed to be kept at low temperatures are also being transported.

About ICMR's usage of Drones

Drone use in healthcare has been pioneered by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). In remote areas of Manipur and Nagaland, it has successfully carried out the distribution of medical supplies, vaccines, and medications. According to Dr Nivedita Gupta, head of the ICMR's Division of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases and Scientists, there are difficulties with the timely distribution of blood and blood products, particularly in India's distant rural areas and busy urban centres. She added that last-mile deliveries within the area might take less time if blood is delivered using drones.

Dr Sumit Aggarwal also said that assessing the quality and integrity of fragile bodily fluids such as the blood and the impact of the drone’s movement is a crucial aspect. It requires proper monitoring and validation. Professor Pammi Gauba, Dean, A&R and Head, Department of Biotechnology, JIIT, emphasised that it is a path-breaking validation study involving the collaborative efforts of ICMR, Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi, Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) in Greater Noida and Jaypee Institute of Information Technology (JIIT) in Noida.”

A statement by ICMR read that protocol development, study designing, implementation and coordination of the project are being undertaken by Dr Sumit Aggarwal, Dr Kuldeep Nigam, and Dr Nupur Mhahjan from the ICMR headquarters. This project funded by the ICMR is being conducted under the guidance of the project Principal investigators, Professor Pammi Gauba (JIIT), Professor Anita Nangia and Professor Sangeeta Pahuja from LHMC, Professor Rambha Pathak and Professor Shalini Bahadur from GIMS. The inauguration of this study was held on May 10 at Jaypee Institute of Information Technology in Noida by dignitaries and representatives from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Directorate of Health Research, National Health Systems Resource Centre, Directorate General Health Services, and NITI Aayog as part of the mission to further develop the drone ecosystem in India.

ICMR Director-General Dr Rajiv Bahl said that clarity in challenge mapping and identifying the possible solutions can be achieved by developing indigenous capacities in research and introducing innovations and technologies in the mainstream. With the help of digitisation, effective vaccine production, and the creation of quick delivery systems, India reached 90% coverage in just one year. Technology's advancement is an accelerator that is helping India move more quickly towards the Prime Minister's goal of becoming a developed country.

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