Residents in remote areas of Tanzania and Rwanda in East Africa are receiving medical supplies through the use of drones, far surpassing similar efforts in the U.S., according to Robert Graboyes, a senior research fellow at George Mason University.
In Rwanda alone, according to RealClear Health, drones have delivered 2,600 units of blood and have traveled more than 62,000 miles to do so.
Despite the fact that many residents in remote areas in the U.S. could benefit from the delivery of medical supplies through the use of drones, Graboyes says that the U.S. is lagging behind other countries, including East Africa, because of strict Federal Aviation Administration rules around the use of drones.
Although researchers have been testing the use of drones for disasters, and other countries have shown that using drones to deliver medical supplies is faster than ambulances or other means, regulations have inhibited the use of drones on a more widespread basis.
It has been reported by the Department of Health and Human Services that over 53,000 pounds of medical equipment was delivered to Texas and Louisiana over the weekend in response to Hurricane Harvey. Little, if none of those supplies were delivered through the use of drones, putting others at risk to deliver the supplies to those in need. This recent tragedy is a compelling example of why we should start a dialogue about how we can better use technology to help those in need.