Humanitarian drones
Malawi will operationalise humanitarian drones that might save children's lives. [Representative Image] In Picture: A drone, equipped with a camera used by police for surveillance tasks, flies in front of Poniente beach at the eastern coastal town of Benidorm, Spain, Aug. 18, 2016.Reuters

It is only recently that the idea of a drone has changed from killer of terrorists to a useful cargo-carrying vehicle which can deliver packages like the one Amazon has been testing. But, in Malawi, a new kind of drones is being tested now, and these are the humanitarian drones.

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A project in Malawi has been launched by the government with the cooperation of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). These humanitarian drones will carry medicine and blood samples, allowing doctors to speed up the process of identifying blood samples of those affected by HIV.

This will be really helpful in Malawi as it has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world, especially among babies and children. According to UNICEF, about 10,000 children die each year due to HIV in Malawi, Voice of America reported.

However, the drones can carry materials only for a distance of 40km and will be fully operational by April 2017.

Currently, it takes about 11 days to transport blood samples to laboratories and another four weeks for the bloods to be tested and returned.

So, these drones will be essentially saving lives of the infected babies, since the faster HIV is detected, the better the chances for babies to survive with treatment.

Further, the drones will also be used to collect information of damages from flood and droughts in Malawi.

Malawi is not the first African nation to experiment with humanitarian drones. Rwanda has signed a deal with a US-based company to transport supplies to its medical centres. In Madagascar, drones are used to carry blood and laboratory materials from villages to research stations where it can be tested.