TODAY -

Launch of drone project for vaccination drive
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: October 06, 2021 -



AS stated by Union health and family welfare minister Mansukh Mandaviya, utilisation of the drone technology in the right place will indeed be a game changer in addressing the challenges in health care delivery in remote areas.

By launching the ICMR's Drone Response and Outreach in North East (i-Drone) which aimsatensuring that the life-saving vaccines reach everyone, the government of India has made clear its firm resolve to inoculate all the eligible people before the virus mutates and fans newer waves of the contagious disease.

Apart from vaccine hesitancy, poor healthcare infrastructure has been one of the factors for the vaccination drive in Manipur not making much progress, especially in the hilly areas and remotely located villages in the plains.

In a recent media briefing, health director Dr K Rajo had informed about formation of voluntary teams and paying them certain amount as incentive to convince the unvaccinated citizens to take the vaccine and lessen the chances of contracting the disease or falling prey to it.

As onset of the third wave of the pandemic is still a possibility, getting fully prepared for facing any eventuality remains the only option to prevent severity of the health crisis.

The director had also informed that the state government had signed an MoU with e-Governance Foundation, an NGO, to set up 10 ICU beds in each of the old districts and 3-5 ICU beds in the new districts, thereby signifying that there are many people who are yet to avail healthcare service as and when required.

Shortcomings in healthcare service mainly centring around manpower and material inadequacies often come to the fore when lives of patients suffering from common health issues such as child delivery and accidental injuries could not be saved at the poorly manned and maintained peripheral healthcare centres:

Though it is unlikely that use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones, for severe medical cases in areas bereft of proper healthcare facilities would serve the purpose, the same will definitely come handy in aiding the vaccination drive against the virulent Covid-19 by reducing vaccine shortages and losses due to logistic problems in difficult terrains.

However, in the state's context, success of the initiative of Indian Council of Medical Research for delivery of vaccines by drones would depend on commitment and diligence of the healthcare personnel.

As full vaccination of all the eligible citizens would be unrealistic as there are substantial number of people settling in villages which are far from the nearest healthcare facilities and their sources of livelihood depend on agricultural activities, mere delivery of the vaccine consignment at designated health centres wouldn't suffice.

Moreover, selection of the Karang Island PHC, which is located only 24 km away from Bish-nupur district headquarters and takes about 5-7 minutes to reach the Loktak Lake islet on motorboat, for the launch programme would be construed as an election gimmick in case the government authorities do not blend efficient usage of drones and motivate the healthcare workers to venture beyond their place of posting, especially in the hill areas.

Thus, it is imperative that officials concerned make full use of the health ministry's benevolent gesture to choose Manipur as one of the locations for launching the drone-aided vaccination campaign.



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