Summative evaluation of the impact of using drones on population health & other outcomes
Drones for development
Malawi has 28 administrative districts where health facilities often face shortages of essential medicines and supplies, particularly during the rainy season. Moreover, it is estimated that more than 50 per cent of Malawi’s population lives more than five kilometers from a health centre and thus have access challenge during floods. All health facilities in Nsanje district, for example, are categorized as hard-to-reach because of their vulnerability to floods. Not having the evidence on geographic information systems makes the preparedness process complicated and inconsistent, ultimately leading to vulnerable communities going without the humanitarian assistance they require. It is for this reason that UNICEF, FCDO and other partners planned on exploring using drones in early warning systems and disaster preparedness in two pilot districts that require alternative transportation modalities during rainy and flood seasons as well as better access to information about flood-affected and flood-prone areas. Thus, Sustained Multipurpose Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (drone) Pilot Project was initiated to explore in two selected districts, whether a viable, multi-purpose UAV operation could help enhance the impact of UAVs in development and humanitarian contexts in a financially sustainable, long-term manner.