Zipline expands medical drone network to Ghana

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April 25, 2019: Drone delivery start up firm Zipline, who is already using drones for medical supplies in Rwanda, has now added African city Ghana as well to the medical drone delivery network.

In Ghana, drones will make on-demand, emergency deliveries of 148 high priority products including emergency and routine vaccines, blood products and life-saving medications.

The service will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from four distribution centers%u2014each equipped with 30 drones%u2014and deliver to over 2,000 health facilities serving 12 million people across the country.

The partnership between the Government of Rwanda and Zipline, supported by philanthropic grants and in-kind support from The UPS Foundation and Gavi, pioneered just-in-time drone delivery of blood products to hard-to-reach clinics in Rwanda.

The Government of Ghana is building on that success with expanded Zipline services, supported again by Gavi and the UPS Foundation and joined this time by the Gates Foundation and Pfizer. The Zipline drone network will be integrated into the national healthcare supply chain in Ghana and will help prevent vaccine stockouts in health facilities as well as during national immunization campaigns.

%u201CThe ability of the Government to supplement routine immunization on demand will allow us to make sure that there will always be enough life-saving vaccines for every child in Ghana,%u201D said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Logistics will be managed through Zipline%u2019s hardware and software systems in each of the distribution centers, and deliveries will take place at hospitals and health clinics. The UPS Foundation will provide $3 million, including $2.4 million in funding and UPS will provide $600,000 of in-kind shipping services. Separately, UPS has already begun an analysis of Ghana%u2019s healthcare supply chain, providing expertise designed to complement the government%u2019s vision to continually optimize the delivery of healthcare products.

%u201CThe program%u2019s ongoing success in Rwanda demonstrates that the collective effort of a public-private partnership focused on advanced supply chain technologies can enhance access to life-saving medical commodities throughout Africa,%u201D said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation and UPS chief diversity and inclusion officer.

UPS will provide technical guidance and consultancy services as needed, in consultation with Gavi and collaboratively with Zipline.

The programme is an expansion of the groundbreaking collaboration between The UPS Foundation, Gavi, and Zipline which began in Rwanda in 2016 by supporting the Government of Rwanda to provide access to life-saving medical supplies in minutes rather than hours for millions of Rwandan citizens in remote communities. The Government of Rwanda has since expanded the programme across all of Rwanda, making more than 13,000 deliveries to date.

Zipline drones now deliver more than 65 percent of Rwanda%u2019s blood supply outside of the capital, Kigali.

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