Drones for Health

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have significant potential to improve the availability of health products and services at the last mile. VillageReach is working to understand the use of drones for product delivery in low-resource environments, collaborating with stakeholders including governments, donors, NGO partners, UAS manufacturers and local universities and technologists. We have developed costing studies, and provided guidance and program management based on our expertise in strengthening the health system at the last mile.

VillageReach believes that a more robust and coordinated evidence base is required to understand the regulatory requirements, costs and benefits associated with UAS use cases in humanitarian settings. Only then will the potential for the use of UAS at the last mile shift to a reality.

The use of UAVs for transport of public health products and services presents a significant opportunity to increase availability and access in hard-to-reach areas, but the evidence generated from recent pilot projects has not been systematically synthesized and disseminated to inform the expansion of the sector. Stakeholders risk duplicating efforts, inefficient use of limited funding and stagnated progress. VillageReach is supporting the Interagency Supply Chain Group (ISG) UAV Coordinator to catalogue and prioritize promising use cases across UAV donors, implementers, innovators and governments, and develop an evidence base to guide impactful investment in the use of UAVs for public health. VillageReach is developing an evidence generation toolkit to provide the logical framework, indicators and data collection tools to develop this evidence base.

VillagerReach also designs and implements UAS solutions to generate evidence for payload delivery and other potential applications in the public health sector. The team is currently leading the testing of UAS in Malawi, Mozambique and DRC. In addition, VillageReach provides technical assistance around drone project implementation to local partners such as Emprende, Incubadora de Negocios Tecnologico in Dominican Republic.

        Mozambique             DRC                Malawi


  • July 2019 – VillageReach collaborated with Frontier Technologies on a webinar in which VillageReach presented on how they have conquered regulatory barriers, in transporting TB samples with UAVs (drones) in Mozambique, by getting regulators, policy-makers and other government stakeholders on the ‘same side of the of the table’. Learn more about the webinar.

UAV Working Group

A collaborative effort from the beginning, VillageReach and partners developed the UAV for Payload Delivery Working Group (UPDWG) to serve as an informal knowledge and resource-sharing mechanism for those involved in the development, advancement, and application of UAS for public health and supply chain improvement. The group provides a forum for members to share information, coordinate efforts, connect with partners and manufacturers, and access document resources related to UAV for payload delivery. UPDWG membership has grown to more than 230 individuals from dozens of organizations and countries.  Quarterly webinars, highlighting member organizations, showcase current projects, technological developments, modeling studies, or research being done and providing a forum for live discussion.

Become a member of the working group and stay up-to-date by visiting the new UPDWG website.

Visit the website. 


drone landing

VillageReach, UNICEF and Matternet test UAV prototypes for HIV test transport in Malawi


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