Where We Work  |  Program

Drones for Health in Malawi

VillageReach has partnered with stakeholders at local, regional and global levels since 2015 to explore the use of drones to improve the availability of health products compared to ground transportation.

May 8, 2024   |   News

Malawi: Leveraging Drones to Bridge Healthcare Gaps in Malawi

Millions lack access to essential healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa, often due to the tyranny of distance compounded by the growing threats of climate change. Traditional transportation methods struggle in remote areas, leaving life-saving vaccines and medications out of reach.

Read News

Nov 26, 2023   |   News

Drone Technology Boosts TB Control Efforts in Mangochi

The introduction of drone technology at Malombe Health Centre has significantly improved the fight against tuberculosis (TB) in Mangochi District. The facility’s TB officer Felix Jameson hailed the drone technology as a game-changer in the fight against TB.

Read News

Nov 2, 2023   |   News

Drones Improve Healthcare Service Delivery in Mangochi

VillageReach introduced drone technology in February this year at the health centre in Mangochi District. Malombe Health Centre in-charge Henry Chimtengo says the use of drone technology at the facility has improved the delivery of health care services.

Read News

Oct 30, 2023   |   News

Drones for Health in Mangochi

VillageReach Malawi visited the Mangochi district to see Drones for Health in action. Projects and programs such as these are critical as we work to improve health outcomes, save lives and accelerate progress toward achieving patient-centered, resilient and responsive primary health care systems and...

Read News

Dec 13, 2022   |   News

Swoop Aero awarded USD$1.5m USAID DIV funding to scale Malawi operations

Swoop Aero has successfully secured USD$1.5 million in funding from USAID Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) to scale existing drone operations in Malawi nationally. The USAID DIV funding will allow for the first randomized control trial of drones transport to be jointly managed by VillageReach...

Read News

Nov 15, 2022   |   News

Pharma.Aero Shares The Results Of The UAV Project

Pharma.Aero has published the White Paper of the latest UAV Project phase that explored the use of drones (UAVs) and its potential as part of the Life Science and Medtech logistic chain, thus interconnecting the traditional and modern airfreight worlds.

Read News

Aug 2, 2022   |   News

VillageReach to Extend Its Operations in Southern Region

A global health innovator, VillageReach which aims at a strengthening medical supply chain seeks to scale up its operations in other three districts of the southern region namely Chiradzulu, Mwanza and Neno.

Read News

May 5, 2022   |   News

Vaccines’ drone delivery significantly shortens transit time in remote areas in Malawi, Africa

The use of drones has the potential to shorten vaccination transit times in difficult-to-reach places from six hours to 20 minutes.

Read News

May 3, 2022   |   News

UPS, VillageReach, Swoop Aero collaborate to deliver vaccines in Africa

UPS, VillageReach, and Swoop Aero are working together to distribute vaccines further and quicker than ever before.

Read News

Mar 25, 2021   |   Blog Post

Drones for Health Deliver: Fundraising Campaign with Focusing Philanthropy Takes Flight

Today, VillageReach and Focusing Philanthropy launched a campaign to raise $2 million. The Drones for Health Deliver campaign aims to increase equitable access to health products and diagnostics for 700,000 people in hard-to-reach areas in Malawi and Mozambique via drone technology.

Read Blog Post


Since 2016, VillageReach has been supporting the Ministry of Health of Malawi and its local partners such as UNICEF to test the feasibility and cost implications of using drones to transport lab samples, blood, vaccines and medicines to address maternal health emergencies and other diseases. In May 2021, VillageReach began working with Swoop Aero to integrate drones into the national health supply chain.

People inspecting drone in field.

VillageReach President and CEO Emily Bancroft visits Malawi to see Drones for Health in action. (Photo Credit: VillageReach)

How It Works

  • Our plan is to to expand drone flights in 105 + hard-to-reach health facilities in 20 health districts, covering the entire Southern and Northern regions of Malawi.
  • Each drone can travel up to 130 km carrying 3 kg (6.6 lb) /5212 cm3, averaging more than 100 km/hour.
  • In addition to routine monthly vaccine deliveries, drones are being used for on-demand deliveries and vaccination campaigns as well pick-ups of laboratory samples of many infectious diseases and health facility reports.


Presentation  |  2023

Drones for Health: Speeding up Lab Sample Transport – ASLM Conference (Dec 2023)

Report  |  2023

Malawi drones for health randomised control trial: Baseline report

Presentation  |  2023

Drones on Demand: Malawi Process Evaluation Results – GHSC Summit (Nov 2023)

Report  |  2022

UAV Project: The Use of Drones in Transporting Vaccines From the Factory to the Patient

Fact Sheet  |  2022

Leveraging the Integrated Medical Drone Delivery System for COVID-19 Response in Malawi

Fact Sheet  |  2020

Drones for Health: Boosting Access to Lifesaving Products

Research  |  2020

Insights Before Flights: How Community Perceptions Can Make or Break Medical Drone Deliveries

Research  |  2020

Costing commodity delivery for obstetric emergencies in Malawi

Tool  |  2019

Malawi Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Toolkit

Research  |  2019

Bi-directional drones to strengthen healthcare provision: experiences and lessons from Madagascar, Malawi and Senegal

Presentation  |  2018

Stakeholder Awareness and Perception Assessment as a Prerequisite in Drone Flight Tests

Report  |  2017

Costs Associated with the Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Transportation of Laboratory Samples in Malawi

Program Impact

Phase 2 Drone Program Results*

Malawi Drones for Health Program

Drone icon
6,067 flights in 383 days
Route icon
1,828 flight hours

174,747 km flown

Vaccine icon
51,031 vaccine doses delivered

1,583+ kg of health products delivered

5,357 lab samples collected

Hospital icon
55 health facilities served in 5 districts
Mother icon
136,281+ people served

*from 30 Dec 2020 – 30 April 2023



  • Malawi Ministry of Health
  • National & District Health Offices , and Health Facilities
  • Department of Civil Aviation – leads the Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)
  • Technical Working Group (TWG)

Technical Partners

  • Swoop Aero
  • Community and traditional leaders
  • Community members


  • Crown Family Philanthropies
  • Focusing Philanthropy
  • UPS Foundation, UPS Healthcare

Related Global Impact

See the latest updates from our work to improve access to quality healthcare in the world’s most underserved communities.

Drones for Health in Mozambique

View details

UAV Supply Chain Modeling

View details

UAV Sample Transport

View details

Drones for Health in the DRC

View details


Support Our Mission

Your tax deductible contribution helps to increase health care availability to reach the most under-reached.

Stay Informed

By providing your email address you agree to receive periodic email news from VillageReach.