The Telangana government has begun to experiment with the use of drones to deliver blood and medical samples. According to a report in Mint, a pilot project has taken off, and private players will later be asked to submit proposals for the operation of such services. The programme has been co-designed with the World Economic Forum and Healthnet Global Ltd, which is an Apollo Hospitals Group company.

If the government succeeds in its implementation, the programme would make a big difference in saving people’s lives. Delivery of medical aid on time is a critical aspect in medical care. Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles that can fly material to remote locations. In hilly areas, these are especially useful.

Although the idea holds immense promise, its execution is what needs to be watched. Healthnet believes that the use of drones can even be used to transport organs. On 19 April, a drone carried a human kidney to a hospital in Baltimore, US. Once drones are commonplace, the average cost of their deployment will likely fall, enabling wider usage. In India, where traffic is a nightmare in urban areas and even ambulances cannot get anywhere as fast as they should, drones could be exactly what the healthcare sector needs. As a precaution, however, drone regulations need to be kept strict. The unauthorized use of drones could be a security threat. For now, though, all eyes are on the Telangana government’s pilot project. If all goes well, various states could adopt the idea.

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