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UNICEF, Malawi Test Drones for Carrying Babies' HIV Tests

  • Associated Press

FILE - A drone is shown during a demonstration flight.

FILE - A drone is shown during a demonstration flight.

Malawi and the U.N. children's agency are experimenting with drones to speed up HIV testing for infants.

Mahimbo Mdoe, a UNICEF representative in Malawi, said drones would solve the challenges that health workers face in reaching remote parts of the southern African nation.

Mdoe said 10,000 children in Malawi die every year of illnesses related to HIV, which causes AIDS, and that nearly 40,000 children were born to HIV-positive mothers in 2014.

The UNICEF spokeswoman in Malawi, Angela Travis, said initial testing of the drone usage had been completed. She said Tuesday that the drones had traveled five to 10 kilometers (three to six miles) with simulated blood samples.

The children's agency said blood samples are currently transported by motorbike or ambulances. High fuel costs and bad roads have contributed to transport delays.

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