Drones for Humanitarian Use

On June 29, HemoCue, a Radiometer company, helped launch Africa's first drone corridor in Malawi in collaboration with Swedish drone provider, GLOBHE and UNICEF.

Imagine being stuck in the middle of nowhere. Your village and roads are destroyed by a natural disaster and there is an urgent need for healthcare and medical equipment, but no one can reach you. With the drone corridor, HemoCue is addressing this issue by pioneering the medical field and taking an important step towards fulfilling Radiometer's Vision of improving global healthcare.

The Government of Malawi launched the drone testing corridor to assess potential humanitarian use of UAVs for delivering services that will have an impact on communities, especially in rural areas where transportation and delivery may be a challenge. As part of HemoCue's efforts to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals and 'leave no-one behind', HemoCue initiated a collaboration with GLOBHE, and is pioneering the use of drones for fast delivery in hard-to-reach areas.

"Four HemoCue tests are performed each second worldwide," says Helena Samsioe, CEO of GLOBHE. "Fast diagnostic services are crucial to help caregivers make diagnostic decisions that save lives and to build healthy societies. Yet in many countries it takes too long to reach the lab, or too long to respond with appropriate treatment. Together with HemoCue we share the common vision of "it must be possible" – to do this easier, to do this better, to do this right and to leave no-one behind."

The corridor is the first in Africa and one of the first globally with a focus on humanitarian and development use. The launch of the UAV testing corridor follows a pilot project in Malawi in March 2016 that tested the feasibility of using drones for the transportation of dried blood samples for early infant diagnosis of HIV.