In rural Nepal, the biggest challenge for healthcare delivery is the lack of an effective transport infrastructure. Healthcare workers or patients often walk for many hours to reach services and essential supplies are often out of stock.
DrOTS Nepal is designed for the early and rapid diagnosis of new TB cases in Pyuthan through the utilization of drones and smart pillboxes, called MERMS (Medication Event Reminder-Monitors), to support overcoming the access barrier in remote geographically isolated areas and improve treatment adherence/patient compliance. Our network of female community health volunteers use the drones to transport the sputum samples of people with TB symptoms to our laboratories or GeneXpert testing hubs.
Joe is a data scientist with a background in public health. He’s passionate about research, building teams, and using technology to solve complex problems. He spent much of 2018-2019 setting up the DrOTS program in Pyuthan.
Mr Gangaram Budhathoki
Regional Coordination Manager
DrOTS Nepal Project
Birat Nepal Medical Trust
Gangaram Budhathoki is the project manager for the DrOTS Nepal project in BNMT Nepal and currently stationed in the regional office, Nepalgunj. He has been working with DrOTS Project since January 2019 but he has been part of the Birat Nepal Medical Trust team since 2017. He was initially appointed as District Program Coordinator for TB REACH Wave 5 project for Bardiya and Salyan district and later upgraded to M&E manager in the project. His job role includes the program planning, managing, coordination, monitoring & evaluation, implementation, recording and reporting of program activitiess as per Project objectives and activities within the regional and project districts.
He has worked with Government job in various health institutions as a health officer for more than twenty years and also in I/NGOs for more than three years as program officer and program coordinator. During his tenure with Government health institutions and I/NGOs offices, his role included the facilitation (training, meeting & workshop), coordination, drafting of project proposals, program design, planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluation, recording & reporting and research activities. Gangaram also has previous experience at the Government health system, Nepal National Tuberculosis program, district program coordinator, regional HIV program officer and community health quality improvement Officer.
Gangaram holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Tribhuvan University, Nepal in Health Education and Masters in Public Health from State University of Bangladesh (SUB). He wants to see Nepal as TB free region.
Dr Maxine Caws
Principal Investigator of IMPACT TB
Birat Nepal Medical Trust
Max Caws is the Principal Investigator of IMPACT TB and a senior TB researcher at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. She was Head of the TB group at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit Vietnam for 11 years and researches diverse aspects of TB including drug resistance, diagnosis, clinical treatment trials, bacterial virulence, and host susceptibility determinants. She is currently based in Kathmandu, Nepal. She has a BSc in biochemistry from the University of St Andrews, a PHD in medical microbiology from King’s College, London, where her thesis topic was tuberculosis meningitis and an MSC in epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Ms. Caws facilitates the links between consortium partners to ensure successful design, coordination, and delivery of research goals.
Mr Raghu Dhital
Executive Director, Birat Nepal Medical Trust
Raghu Dhital is the Executive Director of BNMT Nepal. Raghu has worked in community based public health with BNMT for twenty years and has diverse experience across multiple sectors, including infectious diseases control programmes, WASH and disaster response and recovery. He has a strong passion for working with communities to identify priorities and facilitate solutions together. Throughout his career, he has worked in partnership with government health services and NGO networks to augment existing services and contribute to the development of Nepal.
His main responsibilities are to oversee the overall activities of BNMT; develop strategies, plans and activities for the all the programs of BNMT; establish good coordination and collaboration with government authorities, District Health Offices, NGO partners and advocates and facilitate the successful implementation of Tuberculosis Control Program.
Before taking this role, Raghu served as the Deputy director of BNMT. He previously worked as Project Manager for IMPACT TB phase I from 2017-2019. He was involved in Britain Nepal Medical Trust as a TB REACH Project Manager from February 2012 to June 2014 and has successfully implemented TB REACH WAVE- 2 project in Nepal. He has also been involved in Active Case Finding through systematic mobilization of community health volunteers including initiation of microscopic camps in hard to reach areas of Nepal.
This new technology has helped in early and rapid diagnosis of missing TB cases in the communities. Also, case detection has increased considerably in the district.
Chief, Health Office, Pyuthan
Drone project features in TBPPM Learning Network
On 15th March 2021, our drone project was featured on the TBPPM Learning Network, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Canada, that shares about our work on the DrOTS Nepal project, about the use of drones in Tuberculosis Service Delivery in Nepal, and how the use of drones are transforming the TB diagnostics in rural hard […]
One of the DrOTS Nepal partners, Nepal Flying Labs has been named winner of the TIACA Air Cargo Sustainability Awards 2020 for the project in the Start-up category. The award aims to celebrate and encourage outstanding industry initiatives driving sustainability in air cargo. TIACA, ‘The International Air Cargo Association’ announced this online on December 10th […]
DrOTS Nepal Wins the AUVSI XCELLENCE Humanitarian Award
Drone Optimized Therapy System (DrOTS Nepal) has won the prestigious AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards in the Humanitarian category, organized by the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI, official website: https://www.auvsi.org/ ). It was officially announced at the AUVSI XPONENTIAL AWARDS 2020 (link: https://www.xponential.org/xponential2020/public/enter.aspx ) held in Arlington from 6th – 8th October, 2020. The DrOTS […]
On 4th Jan, 2020, news about the drone project, DrOTS Nepal was broadcasted in national television, Kantipur TV. The news mainly focused on how the drone is functioning and supporting the government to improve the case detection in Pyuthan. The news also highlighted the impact of the project on lives of people affected with TB in […]
One of the DrOTS Nepal partners, Nepal Flying Labs has been named winner of the TIACA Air Cargo Sustainability Awards 2020 for the project in the Start-up category. The award aims to celebrate and encourage outstanding industry initiatives driving sustainability in air cargo. TIACA, ‘The International Air Cargo Association’ announced this online on December 10th at the closing of the Air Cargo Forum (ACF).