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Malawi and Unicef trial drones to transport babies' HIV tests

Published 23/03/2016

Malawi is experimenting with drones to help speed up HIV testing in babies
Malawi is experimenting with drones to help speed up HIV testing in babies

Malawi and the United Nations children's agency are experimenting with drones to speed up HIV testing for infants.

Mahimbo Mdoe, a Unicef representative in Malawi, said drones will solve the challenges that health workers face in reaching remote parts of the southern African nation.

Mr Mdoe added that 10,000 children in Malawi die every year of illnesses related to HIV, which causes Aids, and that nearly 40,000 children were born to HIV-positive mothers in 2014.

The Unicef spokeswoman in Malawi, Angela Travis, said initial testing has been completed.

Ms Travis said that the drones travelled five to 10 kilometres (three to six miles) with a simulated blood sample.

The children's agency said blood samples are currently transported by motorbike or ambulances. High fuel costs and bad roads have contributed to transport delays.

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From Belfast Telegraph