The United Nations estimates that there are about 130,000 children under the age of 14 living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi.
But a new drone program being tested by UNICEF and the government of Malawi might just give these children a chance to fight for their lives.
Early diagnosis is very important in the quality care of children born with HIV. UNICEF reports that it takes an average of 11 days to get blood samples to get from health centers to a testing lab in Malawi. It then takes another eight weeks before the results are sent back to health care centers.
The longer these children wait for their results to get back the longer children have to wait before they can be treated with antiretroviral therapy.
This is where the drones come in.
According to UNICEF, the new drone program will explore cost effective ways to reduce wait times for HIV testing infants.
“HIV is still a barrier to development in Malawi, and every year around 10,000 children die of HIV,” says Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF Representative in Malawi. “This innovation could be the breakthrough in overcoming transport challenges and associated delays experienced by health workers in remote areas of Malawi.”
This is an encouraging new development that may save the lives of thousands of children living with HIV/AIDS.
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