UNITED NATIONS, June 14 (Xinhua) -- The government of Vanuatu and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will jointly launch the first-ever trial of drones to deliver life-saving vaccines to inaccessible remote communities in the Pacific island nation.
"UNICEF is excited to work with the Government of Vanuatu to support this initiative," said UNICEF's Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett, on Wednesday.
"Ensuring vaccines are consistently available in isolated and remote communities is one of the keys to sustaining high rates of immunisation. We welcome innovative measures to ensure that every child is reached," Yett said in a news release.
The government is inviting applications from companies to test their Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS) technology for transportation of cargo in the Pacific. Successful applicants will be assessed for a long-term engagement with the government, according to the press release.
An archipelago of 83 islands that run 1,600 kilometres north to south, 65 of which are inhabited and around 20 of which have airfields and established roads, Vanuatu faces considerable logistical challenges to reach, engage with and support remote communities.
This initiative explores options that allow the government of Vanuatu to enhance service delivery and significantly reduce costs as it does not require massive investment in infrastructure and transport, the press release said.