AIIMS-Rishikesh Introduces Drone Service For Speedy Delivery Of Medicines In Uttarakhand Hills

Ahead of the Char Dham yatra in Uttarakhand, a drone service to deliver and pick up medicines, has been introduced by AIIMS-Rishikesh, which will be particularly useful during the six-month-long pilgrimage. 

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Over 300 pilgrims lost their lives in 2022

In 2022, 300-plus pilgrims lost their lives during the annual pilgrimage across the four holy shrines — Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri — all located above 10,000 ft in the Garhwal Himalayas. 

“Revolutionising healthcare delivery using drones. Successful drone-based trial conducted at AIIMS-Rishikesh for transporting anti-TB drugs from AIIMS helipad to Tehri,” Dr Mansukh Mandaviy, union minister of health and family welfare, said in a tweet on Thursday. 

Drones will also carry patients’ samples

Representational Image

Dr Meenu Singh, AIIMS-Rishikesh director, told TOI that it is an effort to create a system under which anti-TB drugs will be delivered and it will also facilitate bringing samples of patients from remote areas for testing. 

She added that they aim to become a robust support system for the state government during the Char Dham yatra at a time when the state’s health infrastructure is under pressure and there is a need for additional support. 

Dr Singh further said that the facility was brought to fruition with central support and that their institution has become the first AIIMS in the country to employ drones for transporting medicines. 

Three-hour distance of 36 km covered in 30 minutes  

The drone on Thursday covered a three-hour distance of 36 km in barely 30 minutes while ferrying medicines from the AIIMS facility to Tehri district hospital. 

The drone sortie flew around 10.45 am from the helipad of AIIMS-Rishikesh and landed at the destination at 11.15 am.

AIIMS Rishikesh

The first consignment symbolically carried tuberculosis medicines as the Centre aims to eradicate TB in the country by 2025. 

“The drone facility will be immensely useful for the yatra. During the yatra, (some) pilgrims, due to the age factor, suffer from various health issues at high altitudes, particularly cardiac and pulmonary. There are also road accidents. And that’s when drones can be used to ferry blood and small emergency equipment for urgent requirements,” Dr Singh added.

AIIMS-Rishikesh has tied up with a Gurgaon-based firm to run the operation.

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