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Insights Before Flights: How Community Perceptions Can Make or Break Medical Drone Deliveries

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VillageReach, 2900 Eastlake Avenue East, #230, Seattle, WA 98102, USA
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VillageReach, P.O. Box 31348, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
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VillageReach, Rua das Roasas, No. 105, Somerschield II, Maputo, Mozambique
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Independent Researcher, Lubbock, TX 79424, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Drones 2020, 4(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4030051
Received: 30 June 2020 / Revised: 22 August 2020 / Accepted: 27 August 2020 / Published: 30 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones for Medicine Delivery and Healthcare Logistics)
Drones are increasingly used to transport health products, but life-saving interventions can be stalled if local community concerns and preferences are not assessed and addressed. In order to inform the introduction of drones in new contexts, this paper analyzed similarities and differences in community perceptions of medical delivery drones in Malawi, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Dominican Republic (DR). Community perceptions were assessed using focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews (KIIs) conducted with stakeholders at the national level, at health facilities and in communities. Data were collected on respondents’ familiarity with drones, perceptions of benefits and risks of drones, advice on drone operations and recommendations on sharing information with the community. The comparative analysis found similar perceptions around the potential benefits of using drones, as well as important differences in the perceived risks of flying drones and culturally appropriate communication mechanisms based on the local context. Because community perceptions are heavily influenced by culture and local experiences, a similar assessment should be conducted before introducing drone activities in new areas and two-way feedback channels should be established once drone operations are established in an area. The extent to which a community understands and supports the use of drones to transport health products will ultimately play a critical role in the success or failure of the drone’s ability to bring life-saving products to those who need them. View Full-Text
Keywords: medicines drone delivery; healthcare logistics; UAV for human health medicines drone delivery; healthcare logistics; UAV for human health
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MDPI and ACS Style

Truog, S.; Maxim, L.; Matemba, C.; Blauvelt, C.; Ngwira, H.; Makaya, A.; Moreira, S.; Lawrence, E.; Ailstock, G.; Weitz, A.; West, M.; Defawe, O. Insights Before Flights: How Community Perceptions Can Make or Break Medical Drone Deliveries. Drones 2020, 4, 51. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4030051

AMA Style

Truog S, Maxim L, Matemba C, Blauvelt C, Ngwira H, Makaya A, Moreira S, Lawrence E, Ailstock G, Weitz A, West M, Defawe O. Insights Before Flights: How Community Perceptions Can Make or Break Medical Drone Deliveries. Drones. 2020; 4(3):51. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4030051

Chicago/Turabian Style

Truog, Susan, Luciana Maxim, Charles Matemba, Carla Blauvelt, Hope Ngwira, Archimede Makaya, Susana Moreira, Emily Lawrence, Gabriella Ailstock, Andrea Weitz, Melissa West, and Olivier Defawe. 2020. "Insights Before Flights: How Community Perceptions Can Make or Break Medical Drone Deliveries" Drones 4, no. 3: 51. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4030051

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