Drone crash under probe

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Ministry of Health says an investigation has been launched to establish the cause of a drone crash that occurred in Lilongwe on Wednesday.

The humanitarian drone (also called a Remote Pilot Aircraft or WAV) went down in a maize field near Area 25 Health Centre during a test flight but no one was injured.

Dr Charles Mwansambo

 Mwansambo: We are working with all partners to assess the cause of the incident.

In a statement signed by Chief of Health Services Dr Charles Mwansambo, the Ministry of Health says public safety is its primary concern and it is working closely with all partners to assess the cause of the incident.

The statement says prearranged safety protocols were operational and were implemented effectively during the study.

“Multiple police and Emergency Medical Service Teams were present at Area 25 Health Centre during the test flight, and responded rapidly to the incident.

“Prior to the test flights, the Lilongwe and Dowa District Health Offices worked with community leaders to ensure relevant communities were aware of the study and understood safety protocols,” says the statement.

It adds that the product carried by the drone at the time was retrieved safely and in good condition and was returned to MBTS.

The test flight was being conducted by the Ministry of Health and Population in partnership with Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) called Village Reach, Malawi Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS), Pharmacy Medicines and Poisons Board (PMPB) and Vayu, the drone manufacturer.

The purpose of the study is to assess the use of drones to improve accessibility of medical supplies for maternal health emergencies.

According to the ministry, no further test flights are scheduled for the study at this time.

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