The Dr.One Concept

At Drones for Development we truly believe that small drones can significantly improve life in developing countries, especially when it concerns access to healthcare.


More than 2.5 billion people (about 40 % of the world’s population) live in rural and remote areas of developing countries. Health posts and dispensaries at community level can only function if there is regular supply of essential medical commodities from the regional and district centers.
A lack of robust transport systems makes it difficult for these medical facilities to adequately equip themselves and to handle emergencies. Consequently many medical situations get out of hand leading to needless deaths.
Access to quality health care is a human right. With Dr.One we can help local- and regional governments in developing countries to improve their health indicators.
Rural communities deserve a faster and more vibrant standby transport system to handle health problems.
Fatima Anafu Astanga, feature article on Ghana Web, 30 March 2011


Dr.One is a small unmanned aircraft system that is able to transport medicines, vaccines, blood packs from hospitals to health post locations. It can also transport blood samples from health posts to the lab at the hospital. The system is on stand-by and can be activated when required.
Dr.One systems are capable of taking off and landing vertically, not requiring a runway infrastructure. It can also fly like a fixed wing and thereby cover large distances. A Dr.One system is able to cover distances relatively quickly, in a relatively straight line, not hampered by bad road infrastructure.
Technology alone is never the solution, therefore Dr.One is offered as a transportation service integrated in the health system. Implementation of Dr.One services comes with situation analyses, engagement of local stakeholders, training of the health workers, training of local entrepreneurs (mechanics) for maintenance.
The aim of the Dr.One concept is to improve the supply chain for small medical goods, to thereby improve health care as a whole, and save lives of people in remote and hard to reach areas.


Dr.One aims to save the lives of people in remote areas by covering the last mile in health service delivery. DronesForDevelopment focusses on the development, test, operationalization, production, maintenance, training and support of a robust and easy to use type of drone for the transportation and delivery of small medical goods.
Dr.One systems are specifically designed for health service delivery in remote areas in developing countries. Dr.One is a scalable design of low cost components, and aims to transport up to 2kg over a distance of up to 100km.
  • The systems can be operated safely and in an automated manner, without added infrastructure, through mobile phones.
  • The systems are highly robust and easy to maintain.
  • A Dr.One system is able to cover distances relatively quickly, in a relatively straight line, not hampered by bad road infrastructure.
Not only will Dr.One improve health care, it also helps to develop the economy. The Dr.One programme focusses on setting up self-sustainable service organizations for the transportation of small medical goods, in alignment with relevant government rules and regulations, together with local hospitals and local entrepreneurs.
The intention is to operate, maintain and support the Dr.One solution on a national, regional and/or district level, to promote local employment and social and economic development. Low cost production facilities are foreseen to be used for low cost construction of new and/or spare structural parts.
Dr.One is developed by the social venture Drones for Development.
We work with a multidisciplinary team of highly motivated people.
Dr.One has the support of the United Nations Population Fund and the Ghana Health Service.
The potential of Dr.One is immense. It is however necessary to pay very close attention to the process. It will take a lot of effort to get everything and everybody in the right direction. It is therefore necessary to make sure that people are well briefed and fully understand the concept. Dr.One is much more than just technology: if the process is well taken care of, and the proper transparency is in place, the support for Dr.One will grow, if you act carefully.

“I firmly believe your hybrid Dr.One is a brilliant solution to the dual requirements of safe landing and range, that have not been addressed satisfactorily any other way, to my knowledge. The closest alternatives would be to use landing nets or parachutes for fixed wing aircraft, both of which have been tried, but in my view they are clumsy methods that will probably not find traction in a third world setting.”
Prof. Dr. Barry Mendelow
Early pioneer in the use of small unmanned aircraft systems for health care purposes at the National Health Laboratory Service, South Africa (from 2004 ~2010).
Professor Emeritus at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and chair, Academy of Sciences of South Africa Consensus Study on Nutritional Influences on Human Immunity.