Swoop Aero this week became the first drone logistics company to operate a fleet of craft from outside the country of operation, according to sUAS news.. The company are supporting the ‘Malawian National Government’s Health System’ with the backing of the ‘College of Medicine’ and the ‘Malawian Department of Civil Aviation’ as they commence their response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Swoop Aero’s ground operations teams are staffed by local Malawians who’ve been trained in recent months to operate the drones. The previous Australian staff have returned home during the epidemic.
The goal of this remotely piloted operation is to support the government’s covid-19 response following reports of an acceleration of reported cases across the country. Local staff means the company can continue routine flight operation, delivering essential healthcare supplies for pre-existing communicable diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB.
Malawi is identified within the geographical region termed the “disease hot spot belt”. Trudie Lang, Director of the Global Health Network at Oxford University, explains, “There is real fear that health systems become swamped and unable to manage their ongoing health care, thereby presenting an even greater threat than the virus”.
The intention is to scale up the size of the drone network to facilitate more flights per day. Each flight undertaken carries a cargo payload of 3kgs, which represents between eight and ten covid-19 testing kits per flight which are able to be delivered easily.
The multi-network fleet of Swoop Aero drones offers the most viable and effective solution to administer a mass number of coronavirus tests and transport essential healthcare supplies.
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