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Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium to deliver vaccine through Drones to remote India

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Deutsche Post DHL Group‘s Indian arm and the country’s leading express logistics service provider, Blue Dart, has formed Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium to disrupt the current logistics setup to deliver vaccines and emergency medical supplies to the most remote of the country using Drones. The government of Telangana, World Economic Forum, Niti Aayog, and Healthnet Global has collaborated on the project ‘Medicine from the Sky’, of which Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium is a part.

Blue Dart has been consistent in its support to the nation in the fight against the pandemic. As the Trade Facilitator of the Nation, Blue Dart ensured that life doesn’t come to a standstill by safeguarding and ensuring the delivery of critical shipments across the country. In keeping with its commitment to its philosophy, Blue Darters has been working tirelessly to guarantee the continuity of the mission-critical supply chain since the country has been gripped by the pandemic. Blue Dart has continuously worked with the medical equipment and pharmaceuticals sector to maintain the supply chain and deliver the critical shipment and essential supplies including Covid vaccine samples, temperature-controlled movement of COVID-19 testing kits, ventilators, PPE, testing kits, reagents, enzymes, respirators, surgical masks, goggles and gloves amongst other critical material. The company’s six Boeing 757 freighters ensure ease in ramping up operations swiftly to handle large-scale shipments.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has granted the project with necessary exemptions and rights to fly drone flights on an experimental basis in Telangana. The aim is to assess an alternate logistics route in providing safe, accurate, and reliable pickup and delivery of health care items (medicines, covid-19 vaccines, units of blood, diagnostic specimens, and other lifesaving equipment) from distribution center to specific location and back. Blue Dart is committed to improving the supply chain infrastructure and is fighting hard to combat the pandemic. Blue Dart Med-Express Drone flights will deploy an immersive delivery model to optimize the current healthcare logistics within Telangana. The model will enable deliveries from district medical stores and blood banks to Primary Health Centers (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs), Blood Storage Units & further from PHCs/CHCs to Central Diagnostic laboratories.

Proud to be able to help the country in its fight against the pandemic Balfour Manuel, Managing Director, Blue Dart says, “It’s been over a year and our battle against COVID-19 continues to unfold new challenges that need solutions in real-time. The pandemic has taught each one of us the importance of logistics and the need for a tech-led supply chain infrastructure. As an organization, Blue Dart has always been surrounded by the technology of the future. It is this ability that has helped us to not only withstand the pandemic but thrive with growth. While we reach out to over 35,000 locations across the country, the current situation calls for much deeper penetration of vaccines.”

Commenting on Blue Dart’s experiment with Drone flights for Beyond Visual Line of Sight delivery of vaccines Ketan Kulkarni, CMO & Head – Business Development, Blue Dart says, “The consortium aims at enabling safer, efficient and cost-effective Drone delivery flights. It can help reduce the current logistics cost with efficient systems in place, making healthcare logistics faster and efficient. We are delighted to be granted the rights to commence operations and this is definitely the need of the hour. Mankind is witnessing the worst time and Blue Dart is committed to giving back to the society in which it operates and will always be ready to take one step forward.”

Smt. Rama Devi Lanka, Director of Emerging Technologies and Officer on Special Duty (OSD), ITE&C Department, Government of Telangana, says, “The project would generate real and actionable insights to drive future adoption policies and integration with the existing healthcare supply chain. With covid-19 pandemic wrecking existing supply chains, adopting such disruptive technologies is the need of the hour.”

Sri Jayesh Ranjan, IAS, Principal Secretary, ITE&C Department, Government of Telangana, says, “Telangana is one of the most proactive states looking to adopt emerging technologies, and the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project using drones is in line with the same principles. This project is one of the first such programs in the country where multiple drones would fly BVLOS to establish their value proposition for the healthcare supply chain. The vision is to ensure healthcare equity for rural areas.”

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