September 13, 2016 — Straightline Aviation signed a memorandum of understanding with RAD-AID to launch a humanitarian and philanthropic medical assistance program using Lockheed Martin's Hybrid Airship, uniting aircraft innovation with health technology for a new approach to global health outreach.
The RAD-AID Straightline Medical Airship Program will deliver advanced radiology health services, diagnostic medical imaging equipment and medical assistance to populations that are medically underserved, remote or limited by poor access to conventional transportation infrastructure.
According to the World Health Organization, half the world has little or no access to radiology (X-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging), which is essential in diagnosing cancer, trauma, infectious disease and heart disease, and is vital for both surgery and obstetrics. The absence of these assets contributes significantly to worldwide health disparity and mortality.
Radiology equipment is heavy and delicate with advanced electronics and therefore difficult to safely transport to remote regions or to those suffering in the aftermath of natural disasters. The Lockheed hybrid airship is perfectly suited to this role, with heavy lift capability and vibration-free, land-anywhere flight characteristics.
This collaborative program will integrate Straightline Aviation's airship management and operations experience with RAD-AID's 5,200 medical professionals already providing advanced medical imaging technology assistance to over 20 developing countries. The hybrid airship health initiative will include other essential outreach programs, providing vaccinations, disaster response, patient education, screenings and treatment for common diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis.
Launching in 2018/19, the initiative has already attracted support from international health organizations and medical equipment providers, with work on further funding from government programs, philanthropic donors and corporations already underway.
Daniel Mollura, M.D., founder of RAD-AID International, said, "The hybrid represents a new era for 21st century global health outreach, enabling medical personnel and advanced technologies to reach marginalized populations that are separated from conventional infrastructure. RAD-AID and SLA are optimal collaborators for integrating advanced medical intervention with aircraft innovation. Moving heavy delicate medical equipment for service delivery is a widespread challenge for global health, and this program offers a powerful solution."
For more information: www.rad-aid.org