Drones ship blood to forestall maternal demise in Botswana

Drones ship blood to forestall maternal demise in Botswana


For ladies in Botswana, particularly these dwelling in distant communities the place medical provides and blood will not be in inventory, giving beginning might be life-threatening. In 2019, the nation recorded a maternal mortality charge of 166 deaths per 100,000 births, greater than double the typical for upper-middle-income nations. 

“When a girl has misplaced a whole lot of blood throughout childbirth and will should be transferred to a much bigger medical facility, she first must be stabilized the place she is earlier than being pushed out of that place. Well timed supply of blood might be lifesaving. A drone might be despatched to ship the blood in order that the affected person is stabilized,” says Lorato Mokganya, Chief Well being Officer within the Ministry of Well being and Wellness. 

In an effort to curb the nation’s preventable maternal deaths and overcome geographical boundaries this revolutionary initiative will revolutionize the supply of important medical provides and providers throughout Botswana.   

“Timeliness in attending to ladies who expertise being pregnant and childbirth-related problems is paramount, particularly in distant and hard-to-reach areas,” says Dimane Mpoeleng, Laptop Science Lecturer on the Botswana Worldwide College of Science and Know-how (BIUST). 

The main causes of maternal deaths in Botswana are extreme bleeding, problems after abortion and hypertensive issues throughout being pregnant.  

Nevertheless, the last-mile supply of lifesaving medical merchandise and provides might be difficult on this giant and sparsely populated nation with lengthy distances between decrease and higher-level amenities. That is heightened in hard-to-reach locations the place there could also be a scarcity of autos, inaccessible roads, and inefficient provide chain programs.   

© UNFPA Botswana

A nurse locations a cargo of medical provides in a drone earlier than take-off.

Drones for Well being 

In Could, the college, the federal government and the  United Nations Inhabitants Fund (UNFPA) joined forces to launch Botswana’s first drone supply venture, referred to as “Drones For Well being. With this initiative, Botswana additionally turned the primary nation in southern Africa and third on the African continent, after Ghana and Rwanda, to pilot drone know-how for well being care assist. 

Drones are anticipated to drastically scale back the supply time from hours to minutes, enhancing the supply of obstetric emergency provides and thus saving extra lives. 

Beatrice Mutali, UNFPA Botswana Nation Director, believes the venture is a game-changer, which won’t solely enhance the maternal well being scenario in Botswana, but in addition remodel the whole well being system for the nation. 

“At UNFPA, we envision a world the place no girl dies whereas giving a life, and this initiative guarantees to alleviate the downside of maternal deaths in Botswana,” Ms. Mutali says, stressing that innovation is an indispensable engine to convey transformative change for ladies, women, and younger individuals.  

For instance, ladies at rural amenities similar to Mogapi Well being Centre, which serves a inhabitants of over 3,000, will profit immensely from the pace and effectivity that the newly launched drone know-how will convey to the well being sector.  

In accordance with Dr. Mpoeleng, the venture chief of Drones For Well being, every battery-powered flying aerodrone has a supply distance of 100 kilometers and might carry as much as 2 kilogrammes of cargo.  

4 villages have been chosen for the pilot venture. The drones shall be mechanically programmed for takeoff and touchdown and might carry again one other load of provides. Neighborhood members within the pilot areas supported the venture by constructing all drone touchdown pads on the designated well being posts. 


Members of the community helped to build the drone  landing pad at the remote Moremi health post.

© UNFPA Botswana

Members of the group helped to construct the drone touchdown pad on the distant Moremi well being submit.

In 2017, Botswana set a nationwide maternal mortality ratio goal of 71 deaths per 100,000 dwell births by 2025 decreasing to 54 deaths by 2030 so as to attain Sustainable Growth Aim (SDG) 3. If the present maternal demise pattern continues, Botswana is probably going to not meet the SDG goal. 

Talking on the launch, the Minister of Well being and Wellness, Dr. Edwin Gorataone Dikoloti mentioned, “The necessity to put money into revolutionary choices to bridge the lengthy distances, scale back present transportation prices, overcome highway infrastructure challenges, and enhance well timed availability of important emergency obstetric care medication, commodities and provides is subsequently pressing.” 

A 2017 report on maternal mortality charge exhibits {that a} important proportion of maternal deaths in Botswana are preventable.  

“Now greater than ever, innovation is crucial to reaching the ‘leaving nobody behind’ purpose. And with innovation come highly effective partnerships, therefore our work with the college and ministries. We imagine that at present’s issues and altering context name for harnessing improvements that may present breakthrough options that ship sexual and reproductive well being for all,” UNFPA’s Nation Director says. 



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