The majority count of the Ghanaian parliament has approved an agreement with Fly Zipline Ghana Limited, for drone distribution of emergency health and blood products to the rural areas in the country. The deal, which is worth $12,527,000.00 was approved against opposition from the minority group in parliament, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and IMANI Africa.
The process is simple, the health center sends a request for supplies through text, the health products or bloods are packed and the drone is launched. After the Drone reaches its destination, it slows down and deploys a parachute to deliver its package. The average traveling time is between 30 to 45 minutes.
“If a person comes in and needs blood at 1 am, the hospital has two options,” explained Daniel Marfo, who is in charge of systems integration at Zipline Ghana. “If they do not have the blood in stock, they can order blood and hope that it gets there in time. The other option is that they can refer them to another facility.” This can be a well-timed life-saving resort in cases of accidents or blood loss after giving birth.
The project is expected to kick-off in the first quarter of 2019 and the company has been in Ghana for a while to lay down its groundwork. Taking over 8 months to understand the health-care landscape and looking into ways to improve the supply chain system, Marfo told had DW.
Zipline in 2016 partnered with the Rwandan government to launch the world’s first commercial drone delivery service, transporting vital medical supplies like blood as well as special drugs and injections to hospitals faraway, especially inaccessible or difficult to reach by road..
So far, the start-up has dispatched over 5,500 units of blood products like red blood cells, platelets, and plasma to 21 health centers from one site without going through the dangerous road network in Rwanda.
This development further strengthens the narrative of Drone Technology gaining ground in Africa. Its usage has spread across various sectors of the continent’s economy and it only continues to deepen its claws.
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