Swoop Aero expands medical drone deliveries in Mozambique healthcare trials

Swoop Aero drone deliveries medical

Australian UAV logistics specialist Swoop Aero will begin expanding the range and frequency of its drone deliveries of medical supplies in Mozambique as part of the nation’s ongoing healthcare improvement and disease prevention program.

Mozambique’s National Health Institute (INS) said the extension of the trial project will take place in the southern province of Inhambane, where flights between medical healthcare facilities in three districts will be made on a daily basis. Central to that is partner Swoop Aero’s operation of fast, on-demand drone deliveries of medical supplies, drugs, and laboratory samples.

The new Drones for Health Phase 2 is a follow-up to previous aerial trials shuttling COVID-19 and TB samples and test results between villages and labs. Those fall within Mozambique’s wider effort to improve responses to public health emergencies, and broaden medical and drug assistance to rural populations.

“The first phase of the study showed promising results for what was our goal, which was to verify the sample quality, safety, and feasibility of using drones in the transportation of samples of COVID-19 and tuberculosis,” said INS director of public health laboratories, Sofia Viegas. “Today we are encouraged because we have started the second phase, whose scope is wider and the medical products to be transported are diversified.”

The Drones for Health initiative is designed as a multi-phase experiment aiming to establish routine drone operations in Mozambique. The initial phase took place from 2018 to 2020, and examined the advantages, negative aspects, and costs of UAV transport of lab samples compared to ground vehicles. The result determined the air option did not negatively affect the samples received by labs, while considerably speeding their travel time.

The INS says around 100,000 people will directly benefit from the extended program by accelerating the transport and processing of patient lab samples. Moreover, Swoop Aero’s two-way capabilities to deliver medical supplies by drones, then use the same craft to fly matter for testing on return trips will also reduce risks of healthcare centers running low – or out – of equipment usually distributed by road vehicles.

“We are very pleased to continue expanding operations in Mozambique to increase our reach and impact in the region,” says Swoop Aero CEO Eric Peck, who has overseen the company’s growing and diversifying activities across Africa. “These operations bring us closer to meeting our impact goal, which is to provide an integrated drone logistics service to 100 million people by 2025 and reach one billion people by 2030.” 

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