RAD-AID and Straightline Aviation Team Up to Build Medical Airship for Mobile Healthcare

RAD-AID Straightline Mobile Healthcare Airship ProgramThe World Bank reports that over 900 million people lack transportation infrastructure. The World Health Organization reports that 3-4 billion people lack radiology and vital health technologies. RAD-AID and Straightline Aviation (SLADonate) are teamed up to launch the first medical hybrid airship in the world, built by Lockheed Martin, to bring mobile healthcare and humanitarian aid to underserved populations. 

The RAD-AID Straightline Medical Airship Program will deliver advanced radiology health services, diagnostic medical imaging equipment, medical assistance in disaster-relief efforts, and poverty remediation to populations that are medically underserved, remote, or limited by poor access to conventional transportation infrastructure. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) unites aircraft innovation with global health technology innovation for a new approach to global health outreach. See press release.

RAD-AID Straightline Mobile Healthcare Airship ProgramHalf the world has little or no access to radiology (such as x-ray, ultrasound, CT and MRI), which is an essential set of health technologies used for diagnosing and treating cancer, trauma, infectious disease and heart disease and is vital for surgery, obstetrics, and most forms of adult and pediatric medicine. The absence of these assets in developing countries contributes to worldwide health disparity and mortality.  (Read the personal story of SLA CEO’s battle with cancer as an inspiration for the RAD-AID SLA partnership.)

This initiative leverages RAD-AID’s previous and ongoing successful mobile health programs such as our truck-based mobile women’s health program in India caring for over 15,000 women, our deployment of advanced medical imaging computer-based workstations in over 6 countries, and radiology equipment installations in Asia and Latin America.

Radiology equipment is heavy and delicate with advanced electronics and hardware that are difficult to safely transport to remote regions or those suffering in the aftermath of natural disasters. The Lockheed hybrid airship is a game changing aircraft (see features) that is optimally suited to fulfill this role with heavy lift capability, and vibration free, land-anywhere (i.e. sand, snow, and water) flight characteristics.

This collaborative global health program will integrate Straightline Aviation’s airship management and operations experience with RAD-AID’s 5,200 medical professionals providing advanced medical imaging technology assistance to over 20 developing countries.  The hybrid airship health initiative will also include essential health outreach programs such as providing vaccinations, patient-education, screenings, and treatment for common widespread diseases including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis.

RAD-AID will work with SLA to design and implement a unique high-technology radiology and health service architecture adapted to the airship’s advanced engineering. Our current designs for the airship include a fixed internal 4-room clinic within the airship’s 60’x10′ cargo space as well as container-based mini-clinics deployable outside the airship at landing sites, adaptable to variables conditions across climates, terrain, and clinical needs.

Planned to launch in 2018/19, this mobile healthcare initiative has already attracted support from a number of international health organizations and medical equipment providers, with work on further funding from government programs, philanthropic donors and corporations already underway.

Please consider helping to fund this collaborative global health program.

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