The InterAgency Supply Chain Group (ISG) today launched a collaboration of 7 agencies to coordinate efforts on the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for Global Health.
The ISG UAS coordinating body formed in June 2018 as a result of multiple UAS stakeholder discussions that took place since 2016, highlighting the need for stronger coordination between UAS investments for payload delivery in public health supply chain programs.
Conventional health system strengthening approaches to enhance coverage of quality health care, such as capacity strengthening, increased availability of commodities, improved infrastructure and adequate health financing, develop gradually and will, in the short- to medium-term, have a limited effect on the health outcomes of hard-to-reach populations in remote areas.
There appears to be a large potential for emerging markets to consider UAS as a complementary tool for improving health systems, particularly in the last-mile. Known advantages of using aerial delivery platforms such as cargo aircraft or UAS as a transport system include: reduce delivery times, reduce product wastage of temperature sensitive commodities, and increase the reach to remote populations currently underserved, or not served at all.
The group is exploring ways to leverage the potential of UAS for realizing these advantages, while acknowledging that these technologies must be adequately integrated following a long-term sustainability plan, in order to minimize negative effects to the communities they are meant to serve.