BIUST Lauded for medical drones

Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) received praises for delivering the Drones for Health project. The pilot project was launched
recently at the university campus in Palapye.

The cutting-edge technology initiative involves the university drones delivering medical products to maligned communities in the outskirts of Palapye.It is expected that the drones would in future assist other areas in a bid to address logistic challenges that beleaguer the country’s health system.In partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), BIUST delivered the half a million project to the benefit of the Ministry of Health and Wellness. The
beneficiary minister Dr. Edwin Dikoloti praised the two partners for delivering the project that would save the lives of the people of Botswana. A number of high profile speakers at the event also joined the minister in appreciating the humane effort by the university and its partners.

“I have no doubt that the introduction of drones in our health system will transform our primary health care system and position it for the 4th industrial revolution as per our aspirations as a country and people espoused in Vision 2036. It calls for all of us to do our best to make it work. I urge the community to embrace this technological innovation so that they maximise the benefits that will come with it,” the minister said.The minister added that the partnership could have not
come at a better time and that they were optimistic the project would also help the ministry attend to all medical emergencies quicker, and with the required medical supplies. “In the end, we are hopeful that the success of this pilot project will see many lives saved.”

His counterpart in the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Dr. Douglas Letsholathebe noted that advanced economies were living proof that technological innovations were used to conveniently serve their people in every aspect of their lives.Letsholathebe said, his ministry was, therefore, prepared to leverage and play the critical role as the driver of research and innovation as well as leverage on the innovations to transform Botswana from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy.He added that the perennial challenge of unreliable and at times unavailable transport system should become a thing of the past for all the areas where drones have been introduced. “We are optimistic that this pilot project will also assist us to attend to medical emergencies swiftly, and with the required medical supplies.”

Village leadership, represented by the office of the Member of Parliament (MP) also acknowledged the resilience of BIUST in aiding the community and others in the periphery of the village and the country at large.Speaking on behalf of the MP, James Olisitse, who is the MP’s administrator applauded the University for the
Drone for health project, and the government for supporting the initiative. Reiterating other speaker’s words, he said the project would go a long way in developing the health system and saving the lives of Batswana.“We thank BIUST for remaining steadfast for the community and using new technologies and innovations
to address the challenges the community was faced with. We also applaud BIUST for taking the driver’s seat in leading national developments and it gives us hope
that we would realise the dream of having the youth of Botswana leading the national transformation.”

BIUST vice-chancellor said the launch of the pilot project was a demonstration of a growing and maturing science, engineering, technology and innovation infrastructure in Botswana. The project, he said demonstrated that BIUST had the right technical skills and know-how to bring skills and technology transfer and attract investment avenues into Botswana.The vice-chancellor said he was also enthused that BIUST through the Department of Computer Science
and Information Systems is at the forefront of technical delivery of the use of drones’ technology to aid the health care sector.

“It is a great honor for me to be part of the team that today, is delivering the solution to reducing maternal mortality amongst other challenges and improving
health care delivery. The launch of this pilot project is a demonstration of a growing and maturing science, engineering, technology and innovation infrastructure
in Botswana,” he said.Totolo acknowledges that BIUST could not achieve the milestones alone, therefore were actively engaging strategic partners locally, regionally and internationally to achieve its aspirations of serving Batswana and developing Botswana.