The world’s largest drone delivery network has launched in Ghana with the capacity to deliver drugs and vaccines to the poorest parts. When the New Tafo Government Hospital in Ghana’s Eastern Region, needs emergency medicine or blood for a transfusion and the hospital doesn’t have it in stock, all they need is to send a text message and 15 minutes later, a drone will arrive and the medicine will drop from the sky with a parachute.
The drone network is designed to deliver blood, essential medicines and vaccinations across the middle-income, West African country. Which experts say will save lives and transform the developing nation’s healthcare sector.
The drone service is designed, installed and operated by US-based Zipline International Inc in partnership with the Ghana Health Service, a public agency under the control of the Minister for Health.
Tafo hospital is the first in Ghana signed up to the government’s new medical drone delivery program which hopes to use unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver medical products to hard to reach communities in a timely manner.
The Ghana Health Service which are working with Zipline, the drone company best known for starting blood delivery services in Rwanda. Ghana’s health policymakers hope that the faster drop-offs will improve its health outcomes including reducing its maternal and infant mortality rates. According to the World Health Organization, “severe bleeding during delivery or after childbirth is the commonest cause of maternal mortality and contributes to around 34% of maternal deaths in Africa.” The timely access to safe blood could save many lives.
The medical drone program was officially launched on Wednesday Apr. 24 2019 by Ghana’s vice president Mahamudu Bawumia, who first made the announcement a year ago. The launch at Zipline’s Omenako center in Ghana (70 kilometers north of the capital, Accra) is the first of four centers it hopes to complete by the end of 2019.