With ample cases where patients suffer and die in lack of timely health care services, a medical drone could hold key to improve access in remote Nepal. Mahavir Pun, chairman of Nepal Innovation Center, argues so.
According to My Republica, the Center is developing two prototypes, an octocopter and a fixed-wing drone, each with ranges of 15 and 30 km respectively.
Connected to nearest hospitals and health posts as hubs, the drones, built by Nepali engineers, will help to connect rural communities and urban areas for better and timely health care services.
"The drones will be capable to carry medicines and collect body fluid samples with 3 kg of maximum load," Pun said during Technology for Public Services and Development, a conference organized by the UNDP at Hotel Yak and Yeti.
With drones delivering medicines and food already in use in the West, Pun said," importing such drones will again increase our trade deficits. The reason we are developing our own is to reduce increasing imports, promote our engineers and our skills and have our one production."
In addition, Pun shared that at a time where innovations and patents are being made registered, it was crucial for Nepal to follow suit." As long as innovations don't come under our purview, we cannot prosper in the world."
Dr. Manish Pokhrel also stressed that technology was key to promote tele-education and that Kathmandu University is also developing drones to increase accessibility to outreach centers.
Kathmandu University Hospital currently has Telemedicine services in place. The services connect 20 health facilities in rural Nepal.