The Insurance and Health Robotics Stakeholders Workshop aimed to help professionals in the insurance, medical diagnostics, and drug delivery fields better and more quickly deliver services to their clients. The workshop was attended by government representatives from the Ministries of Health and Security; Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST); National Drug Authority (NDA), and the National Medical Stores (NMS). Additionally, national insurance companies BRITAM, ICEA, LIBERTY INSURANCE, SANLAM, UAP, and AFRICARE, as well as diagnostic company representatives from MBN Clinical and Lancet Laboratories also attended the workshop. Each representative had different expectations, including learning about new technology that could improve practices and processes; and how drone technology could aid in the delivery of drugs and laboratory samples.
The keynote address from the Director of Supervision IRA Obel Bernard explained to all of us how insurance companies devise their products for clients that minimize loss for both parties. Using statistical data, insurance companies analyze how profitable each product will be, the financial risk. Through analyzing financial and other risks involved in drone use, insurance companies offer competitive rates to clients. Approaching more prominent insurance companies with experience would work to the client’s advantage. As per the stakeholders’ meeting, some of the insurance companies (Sanlam, Liberty, ICEA, and Africare) were already insuring drones. The Director also discussed what the insurance companies could insure against personal injury, transporting illegal goods, damage to public and private property, security threat, and invasion of privacy. The assurance from Mr. Obel gave us confidence that the partnership with insurance was possible.
We then had a brief introduction to drones, their benefits, and uses—including the delivery of blood samples, drugs, and diagnostic samples to and from remote areas—the code of conduct while flying. Following these discussions, the participants were energized by the workshop and for the potential of continuing to work together.
The discussion and challenging session were carried out in groups with each team had an insurance company, technology personnel, government representative, and health personnel. This session discussion explored challenges, including sample spillage and spoilage, and other conditions necessary for appropriate handling. The groups also raised other risks from an invasion of privacy, encroachment on or damage to personal property, and unprofessional and negligent flying. Discussions of how drones can be used in the insurance sector were discussed, which included risk and damage assessment. Instead of sending people over to survey the affected area, robots can be sent to the affected to relay real-time images and analyze the extent of the damage hence more effective.
The panel, which included the Insurance Regulatory Authority, National Drug Authority, and Uganda Flying Labs, discussed possible solutions for each challenge—which interested the group interested in bringing solutions back to their respective organizations. With a representative from the Ministry of Security, we are currently working on the code of conduct for drones to be fully regulated in Uganda.
From the workshop, we also learned about the space program that Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (UNCST) is currently working on. This program gives some focus on robotics and spatial data, and this platform helped make the network between Uganda Flying Labs and UNCST. We look forward to working together.
The participants were appreciative of the idea to have insurance companies come on board with drones and health as this would minimize the risks and losses that could happen during the delivery of samples.
We are grateful to everyone who made this day fruitful and all the contributions made.