The Government of Bayelsa State has tapped drone technology to deliver essential medical supplies and expand universal healthcare access following a deal announced today by Zipline.
Zipline, an instant logistics firm says it has closed a partnership with Bayelsa State under which its drones will support universal healthcare access for the people of the Bayelsa.
By this agreement, Zipline says in a statement made available to Technology Times that, the firm “will establish a distribution hub in Bayelsa State for the introduction, operation, and maintenance of a just-in-time instant logistics solutions to ensure that essential drugs, blood, and a selection of other life-saving medical supplies are available to the State health facilities in Bayelsa State.”
The Bayelsa signing, the firm says, follows Kaduna and Cross River states that have already signed onto the Zipline technology in Nigeria.
When completed, the service will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, day or night, from the distribution centre to be equipped with Zipline’s proprietary fleet of drones.
“We remain well committed to delivering an aggressive agenda of building a dependable health delivery system in Bayelsa, part of which has given birth to this partnership. We envisage that this partnership will remain one of the most significant ways of removing the access barriers that mitigate easy delivery of medical commodities to our health facilities;” Douye Diri, Governor of Bayelsa State says. “Even distribution of on-demand medical commodities to remote and hard-to-reach areas do not only safe lives but also become a significant way of managing waste that happens as a result of the expiry of medicines”
“Zipline is pleased to partner with the people and Government of Bayelsa to advance instant, autonomous healthcare delivery across the state,” Keller Rinaudo, Zipline CEO says. “This partnership is an important milestone for Zipline as we scale smart, safe and just-in-time delivery technology and transform how goods move around the globe.”
About the New Drone Service:
The revolutionary new service, which is expected to launch operations within six months from construction, is part of the Government of Bayelsa State’s bold vision of using drone delivery to establish universal, seven-days-a-week access to lifesaving and critical medicines for most of its citizens over the coming years. Zipline drones will make on-demand and emergency deliveries of blood products, vaccines, and life-saving medications.
The Government of Bayelsa State’s vision is for Zipline to establish one distribution center, which is capable of covering most parts of the state. The government’s goal is to put almost all of its citizens within minutes of a lifesaving medical delivery by drone.
Throughout the world, access to life-saving and critical health products for billions of people is hampered by the last-mile problem: the inability to deliver needed medicines and vaccines due to lack of adequate transportation, communication, or supply chain infrastructure. Too often this results in unequal access to healthcare and healthcare outcomes, avoidable stockouts, and costly product waste across healthcare systems.
A New Solution:
To increase access and reduce medical waste, key stock of blood products, vaccines and life-saving medications will be stored at Zipline’s distribution centers for just-in-time delivery. Health workers will place orders by text message or call and promptly receive their deliveries exactly when and where they need them in 30 minutes on average.
The drones both take off from and land at Zipline’s distribution hub, requiring no additional infrastructure or manpower at the clinics they serve. The drones fly autonomously and can carry 1.8 kilos of cargo, cruising at 110 kilometers an hour, and have a round trip range of 160 kilometers – even in high speed winds and rain.
Deliveries are made from the sky, with the drone descending to a safe height above the ground and releasing a box of medicine by parachute to a designated spot at the health centers it serves.
How Zipline Works:
Each week, a single Zipline distribution centre – a combination of medical fulfillment warehouse and drone airport – is capable of the micro-targeted delivery of more than two tons of temperature-controlled medicine to any point across an almost 20,000 square km service area.
Each aircraft can fly 160 km round trip, in strong winds and rain, day or night, to make on-demand deliveries in 30 minutes on average. Zipline’s drones, the firm says, have flown 18 million autonomous miles to deliver millions of doses of vaccines, units of blood, and critical and life-saving medications to thousands of health facilities serving more than 25 million people across three countries.