WMP’s mosquito releases take flight
All eyes were on the sky in Nakasi, Fiji, as the World Mosquito Program’s first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) trial got underway on 21 November, with Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes on board.
As part of our plans to scale up and deliver our approach globally, we are exploring the use of UAV technology by joining forces with international not-for-profit WeRobotics and local experts, Pacific Flying Labs, Fiji and Fiji Drone Services. The trial involves releasing mosquitoes with Wolbachia, in the hopes of improving operational efficiencies at a larger scale down the track.
The WMP’s Project Coordinator in Fiji, Mr Aminiasi Tavui, believes the technology could help millions of people in cities around the world.
“Although this work is in its very early stages, there is potential for UAV technology to help distribute mosquitoes with Wolbachia across large cities where diseases like dengue cause heartache for many families,” Aminiasi says.
“We know the Nakasi community is excited to be at the forefront of this new technology.”
Our UAV trial is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Combating Zika and Future Threats Grand Challenge. The WMP in Fiji is working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
The WMP’s Fiji team has been carrying out ground deployments for a number of months to help protect communities from dengue, Zika and chikungunya in Lami, Suva, Nausori, and Nakasi.
Learn more about our work in Fiji.