UPS, VillageReach, Swoop Aero collaborate to deliver vaccine in Africa

Drone technology has the potential to shorten vaccination transit times in difficult-to-reach places

Drone delivery is progressively lowering vaccine shipping costs while improving vaccination availability
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Drone delivery is progressively lowering vaccine shipping costs while improving vaccination availability

UPS and The UPS Foundation have collaborated with VillageReach and Swoop Aero in Malawi to enhance the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations globally.

UPS, VillageReach, and Swoop Aero are working together to distribute vaccines further and quicker than ever before. Drone technology has the potential to shorten vaccination transit times in difficult-to-reach places from six to seven hours to 15 to 20 minutes.

VillageReach is well-known for its work with governments and groups to provide health solutions that increase fairness and access to treatment. Swoop Aero's sustainable and scalable drone technology platforms - transporting crucial health supplies to rural, disadvantaged regions – are a perfect fit for their aim to change health care delivery to reach everyone.

These initiatives to reach marginalised groups are especially important given that just 17% of the African continent is completely immunised against COVID-19. Drone delivery is progressively lowering vaccine shipping costs while improving vaccination availability. In fact, cancellations at vaccination clinics in Malawi have dropped from 11% to 1.3% owing to a lack of supplies.

And now, with the assistance of UPS, VillageReach and Swoop Aero are expanding their reach from three to more than 20 districts across Malawi, linking almost 100 hard-to-reach clinics with hospitals, pharmacies, and labs, allowing thousands more people to receive the treatment they require.

"This partnership opens up new avenues for supporting the Malawi government in tackling persistent barriers to equity and universal health coverage," said Olivier Defawe, director and drone program lead at VillageReach.

The public-private collaboration includes The UPS Foundation, UPS Healthcare, UPS Flight Forward, VillageReach and Swoop Aero.

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