Malawi is currently working to control a cholera outbreak in the country, said to have started with onset of the rainy season in November. The drones will provide aerial imagery that will also pinpoint areas that urgently need public awareness campaigns.

The first drone mapping took place in Likuni area, one of the densely populated townships in Lilongwe. Cholera is spread by ingesting fecal matter and causes acute watery diarrhoea. The outbreak has been blamed on poor hygiene and use of contaminated water by residents.

Community leaders and residents participated in studying the maps and contributed to plans that can help improve things. “It has revealed many things that we didn’t know about. As community leaders, we now have a huge task to ensure that our surroundings are clean and tidy. We have assured the organisers that we will take immediate action and within the next six months things will improve,” said community leader, Bernadetta Bernard.

Drones are already being tested for commercial deliveries in countries like the United States and New Zealand. Malawi’s drone corridor has been used before for humanitarian operations and development work.

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