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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 342-346

Unmanned aerial vehicle (drones) in public health: A SWOT analysis


Department of Community Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Karaikal, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Karthik Balajee Laksham
Department of Community Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Karaikal, Puducherry - 609 602
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_413_18

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In developing countries, lack of access to roads is critical for medical supplies like vaccines and drugs. Air transport like a helicopter is expensive and not affordable. The success of drones in the fields of ecology and environment makes us believe that they can also be used in the field of Public Health as medical couriers. The important strength of using drones is its potential to decrease the travel time for diagnosis and treatment. They are a cost-effective alternative to road transport in difficult terrains. Drones can be used in the transport of blood from the blood bank to the place of surgery and that of specimens from hard-to-reach areas to the labs in nearby towns. They can deliver essential medicines like anti-venom for snake bite and dog bite and prevent deaths. Drones can be employed in disaster relief operations for rescuing victims and in the delivery of food, water, and medicines. Organs can be transported in a short time bypassing the busy traffic. However, operating drones require trained staff and the lack of infrastructure like runway is a potential problem. Drones cannot carry heavier payloads or deliver goods long distances. Drones in the hands of terrorist groups may be weaponized and used for terror attacks. Medical drones may be mistaken for military Drone and attacked by armed forces.


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