TechInAfrica – The Ghana Health Service is working with an American medical delivery product company, Zipline, to deliver medical products to the areas that are hard to reach. The medical drone program was launched by Ghana’s Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia, on April 24, 2019, at Zipline’s Omenako center. It’s the first out of four centers expected to finish by the end of this year.
The drone will deliver medical products like medicines, vaccines, blood, and blood products from the Omenako center to 500 health facilities within an 80-kilometer range from the center. The program is expected to reduce the wastage of medical products at hospitals.
The drone will deliver medical products to the most challenging areas in African cities and rural areas where the road infrastructure is underdeveloped and poorly maintained. The company said that the Ghana operation is the world’s largest drone delivery service.
In the future, Zipline is targeting Ghana as its base training for flight operators and hopefully to more countries in the coming years. Besides Ghana, Zipline has also received interests of a similar service from other African countries such as Nigeria and Senegal.
Zipline is a for-profit company headquartered in San Fransisco, California, USA. It was founded in 2014 and started its operations in Rwanda two years after the establishment, delivering blood and blood products during the emergency times. The drone delivered more medical products like vaccines starting from this year.
According to the company, they would be able to deliver medical products to around 2,000 health facilities which serve around 12 million patients, ranging from small community clinics and vaccination centers to larger hospitals, soon after the four local centers complete and begin their operational.
The Ghanaian Government has entered an agreement contract with Zipline that requires the company to make 600 deliveries in a day for four years. They will get paid per successful delivery, costing Ghana $2.5 million during the four years.