Drone-based Vaccine Deliveries in Vanuatu

Submit your tender(s) BEFORE 29 JUNE 2018 1:00 PM VLT to provide the logistical services to deliver vaccines via drones for the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Vanuatu.

Aerial view of Utanlangi. Nguna Island. Credits: UNICEF. July 2017.

Request for Tenders (RFT). Physical Services: 


The Republic of Vanuatu is a Y-shaped archipelago consisting of 83 relatively small islands of volcanic origin that run 1600 kilometers north to south. 65 islands in the archipelago are inhabited and only 20 of them have functional airfields and established roads. Many islands and villages are accessible only by boat, and the roads on the major islands only connect the most important towns and villages. Roads are in bad condition, and they are flooded or washed away quite often due to the predominant climate conditions.

Due to these limitations, vaccine and health supply logistics are expensive, risky, and unreliable. Mobile teams are frequently required to walk to villages and communities in remote areas.carrying temperature-sensitive vaccines and equipment. If the cold chain is disrupted, vaccines rapidly degrade and do not provide the children the required immunization. The challenges faced to access remote communities and support the vaccine supply chain also contributes to the frequent lack of stock within health facilities.

What is the Vanuatu MoH looking for?

MoH, in assessment with UNICEF, is exploring the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, as a quick, reliable, and effective mode of transportation to deliver vaccines from main health facilities to dispensaries, aid post, and mobile vaccination teams. It also includes maintaining the cargo temperature between 2 and 8 Celsius degrees -to ensure the cold chain is not interrupted and the vaccines are delivered in optimal condition.
The primary objective of the project is to test the technical feasibility and economical sustainability of including this new mode of transportation into the existing Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) as a last-mile delivery resource. To achieve this objective, Ministry of Health is seeking to contract up to three service contractors through a government procurement process. Three (3) Request for Tender (RFT) processes for physical services, for Pentecost, Epi & Shepherds, and Erromago islands respectively, have been officially issued (download a .pdf version of each RFT process below)
The RFTs are not mutually exclusive and, if individuals or companies opt to apply, may result in them being contracted to provide services for a maximum of two of them.

Prepare and submit your Tender!

The Government of Vanuatu and Ministry of Health invite individuals or companies worldwide, which can provide a drone-based service for vaccine delivery, and incorporate it as a new mode of transport to support the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) implemented in this Pacific Country.


The services are expected to be implemented on Pentecost, Epi & Shepherds, and Erromango islands, for 11 weeks (test: 2 weeks, and delivery: 9 weeks), starting on September 2018.

Why apply to this Tender?

This operational service opportunity is the second stage to the vaccine challenge that was launched in June 2017. The aim is to assess the feasibility of RPAS cargo delivery in the Pacific. If your system and service proves to be efficient and cost-effective, you will have the opportunity to compete for a longer-term engagement with the Government of  Vanuatu to provide RPAS delivery services.
UNICEF’s need for RPAS cargo delivery extends beyond the Pacific region. Through participation in this opportunity, you will be connected to UNICEF experts exploring the use of RPAS and connected to other companies active in this space. Data generated from your service will inform UNICEF’s global strategy and the Pacific region’s approach to using RPAS in cargo delivery.

Interested? What’s next?

Download the RFT documents and submit one, two or three Tenders by separate, in sealed and labeled envelopes, and in the requested format including the necessary documents and annexes.

Download the RFT documents below:

1. MOH S1721-1_RFT PENTECOST Phase 2A   
2. MOH S1721-2_RFT EPI AND SHEPHERDS Phase 2B   
3. MOH S1721-3_RFT ERROMANGO Phase 2C  

Download the Q&A File here.


Submit an electronic copy of your Tender(s) here (Note: this link will be activated during the last week of the Tender Period: 25 to 29 June 2018. Tenderers are required to upload an electronic copy of their Tender(s) along with proof of shipping of your Tender hard copies BEFORE THE TENDER DEADLINE: 29 June 2018, 1:00 pm Vanuatu Local Time (UTM+11))
Transportation of Vaccines and Medical Supplies using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or Drones.

1_Digital Tender Box for MoH S1721-1: Pentecost Island (Phase 2A)
2_Digital Tender Box for MoH S1721-2: Epi & Shepherd Islands (Phase 2B)
3_Digital Tender Box for MoH S1721-3: Erromango Island (Phase 2C)

Phase 2 Schedule

Official Issuance of the RFT process: Wednesday, 30 May 2018. 8:30 am Vanuatu Local Time (UTM+11).
I you haven’t, REGISTER below by Tuesday, 29 May, in order to receive via email instructions to join the online pre-tender meeting (Kick-off) meeting.
– Tenders Submission Deadline: 29 June 2018.1:00 pm Vanuatu Local Time
– Conditional Contract Signature: Monday, 13 August 2018
– Remote preparation period: 29 calendar days
– On-site equipment demonstration (OED) 9:00 am at the testing site on Efate-Vanuatu: Tuesday 11 to Friday 14 September 2018
– In-country preparation period: One week
– Unconditional Contract Signature: Monday, 24 September 2018
– Contractual period (9 weeks): 24 September to 25 November 2018
– Final report / End of contract: 30 November 2018
NOTE: dates are subject to Government procurement processes and are to be treated as ‘best case estimates’
Procurement: Ministry of Health (MoH). Government of Vanuatu
Technical Support: UNICEF
Access the General Information on the RFT Process notes here.
REGISTER below – UNICEF will use this information to get in contact with you and share relevant updates during the Tender Period.
Register your interest here

Previously: Vanuatu Drone Challenge 

Aerial shot of the island of Efate. ©Vanuatu Helicopters/2017/Andy Martin
The Government of Vanuatu, in partnership with UNICEF, launched a drone challenge inviting the industry to test their RPAS technology for transportation of cargo in the Pacific.  This challenge is the first stage (part of three phases) to assess the feasibility of RPAS cargo delivery in the Pacific. If proven feasible – will result in an issuance of a long-term agreement and be part of the overall goal to incorporate it as a new mode of transport in WHO’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) implemented in this Pacific Country. View invitation document here.
On July 27, the Government of Vanuatu – with the support of UNICEF – announced the participants for the first phase of the Vanuatu drone trial in August 2017. These six self-funded candidates will travel to Vanuatu from countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Israel and Australia to demonstrate the performance of their drones. The six candidates selected to participate are: Volans-i inc., Martek Marine Ltd, JAR Aerospace Pty Ltd, Colugo Systems, Finish the Call LLC, and Firetail Bormatec JV. Martek CEO Paul Luen said: “The opportunity to deploy our unique capabilities for the good of the people of Vanuatu was an opportunity we had to grasp. We’re certain we’ll deliver a reliable cargo delivery service to enable long-term deployment at a national level. Read more.
Overview: Existing National Vaccine Delivery Program
The 14 Pacific Island Countries are home to 2.3 million people, including 1.2 million children and youth, living on more than 660 islands and atolls stretching across 17.2 million km2 of the Pacific Ocean, an area comparable to the combined size of the United States of America and Canada. For more information, click here.
The UNICEF Pacific immunization program covers 14 Pacific Island Countries, each with many scattered and remote islands, posing a number of geographical and logistic challenges.  Vanuatu, an archipelago of 83 islands that run 1600 km north to south, faces considerable vaccine supply chain logistical and access challenges in reaching remote communities and its health facilities are frequently faced with frequent lack of stock.  

Flight Path for Phase 1 

Download it here.

Contact Info:

For media inquiries please contact: acollins [at] unicef [dot] org
For other inquiries please click here.