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Why Healthcare?

Why healthcare?

Why is Swoop focused on healthcare?
Swoop Aero uses autonomous drones to transport goods by air. We call it airborne mobility. And instead of delivering coffee and burritos, we focus on essential healthcare supplies. But why?

A joint report from the World Bank and the World Health Organisation found that at least half of the world’s population still can’t obtain essential health services. At Swoop, we believe the provision of essential health services should be a universal right and we’re working to make this a reality.


The Challenge
One of the biggest challenges to health services in remote areas is getting the medical supplies to where people need them. That last mile transportation is often done by health administrators or nurses and can be treacherous. Here are some of the challenges they have to deal with:

Geographic challenges
Having to navigate mountains, rivers, dense jungle and rough seas while maintaining the integrity of the medical supplies.

Infrastructure challenges
Having to take roads (if roads exist) that are barely usable or simply walking or taking a boat. Note; in places with low infrastructure, the transport that does exist is often prohibitively expensive.

Storage challenges
In many parts of the world, a constant and reliable power source doesn’t exist. This makes storing and refrigerating an adequate supply of medicine basically impossible for many smaller health facilities.

Car_DRC_VillageReach
Typical car troubles on the way to deliver medical supplies, photo credit: Luciana Maxim, VillageReach

Overcoming Challenges: Current Approach
Current approaches to the transportation of essential health supplies don’t effectively meet the needs of the people they’re there to serve. Some of the key gaps include:

  • Long wait times for the delivery of essential health supplies delays the provision of primary health care
  • A scheduled delivery approach isn’t reactive to the needs of the patients, resulting in a mismatch between supply and demand and ultimately wastage of medical supplies
  • Large volumes of excess medical supplies are wasted in the system because central stores cannot redistribute limited supplies quickly to where they’re needed
  • There is unnecessary, and inadequate, duplication of facilities such as refrigeration systems which increases costs and ongoing maintenance

The overall result is that the current transportation model is limited and cost-prohibitive in effectively providing people everywhere full access to essential health services.

Overcoming Challenges: Introducing Airborne Mobility
We believe the solution is autonomous air transport; we call it airborne mobility. Airborne mobility can act to alleviate these obstacles for local providers. By fundamentally revolutionising the reach, speed and flexibility of a transportation model, autonomous air transport becomes an enabler which facilitates a transition to on-demand provision of medical supplies for essential health services. Some of the key benefits include:

  • On-demand deliveries from a centralised medical storage facility mean that wait times are reduced from days to minutes
  • Instead of scheduling, health workers can request medicine as they need it and in doing so be immediately responsive to their patient’s needs
  • Central stores of medical supplies can be quickly redistributed as needed
  • Reach and speed means that storage facilities can be centralised at the main facility, easing costs and pressure on smaller medical facilities

The overall result of an autonomous airborne mobility system is a decrease in operational costs and an increase in essential health service provision to the communities who need it most.

What’s next?
Our mission is to provide networks of autonomous drones as a service, which transport essential health supplies, on-demand, for the people who need it most.

Stay tuned for more updates on the work Swoop is currently doing in Africa and the Pacific.

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