28 Jun 2017

Pills from above: Communities set for medicine-by-drone

8:37 pm on 28 June 2017

An Auckland IT company is working on a plan to deliver medicines by drone to isolated communities.

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Photo: 123rf

Paua Interface director Robyn Kamira helped set up an internet link two years ago to the marae at Mitimiti in north Hokianga.

The Te Rarawa woman said that meant people could now consult their GPs online, saving time and money.

Picking up medicine is still a problem however, and that's where she said drones could work.

"It's all very well having a GP online to consult with but it's another thing to get the prescriptions out there," she said.

"It's a three-hour return trip either to Kaitaia or Rawene - Rawene means a ferry crossing as well, Kaitaia is very rough gravel roads.

"I counted last year about seven or eight flood events where they couldn't even get out.

The IT consultant said drones were beginning to be used elsewhere in the world to deliver medicine, and it could be the answer for remote communities in New Zealand.

She said her company was working with Civil Aviation to trial the first medical drone flight to Mitimiti in November.

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