Drones offer speedy medical deliveries in Nigeria

By Rebecca Jeffrey

Zipline drone. Copyright: Zipline International

The Government of Bayelsa State, Nigeria and California-based drone delivery company Zipline have partnered to leverage Zipline’s drone technology for speedy delivery of medical commodities.

Zipline will establish a distribution hub in Bayelsa State for the introduction, operation, and maintenance of a just-in-time instant logistics solution to ensure that essential drugs, blood and a selection of other life-saving medical supplies are available to health facilities in Bayelsa State.

Construction of the distribution hub will begin immediately. When completed, the service will operate 24/7 from the hub, which will be equipped with Zipline’s fleet of drones.

“Zipline is pleased to partner with the people and Government of Bayelsa to advance instant, autonomous healthcare delivery across the state,” said Zipline chief executive, Keller Rinaudo. “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.”

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 km an hour, and have a round trip range of 160 km – 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 centres it serves.

The Bayelsa signing follows the Kaduna and Cross River states that have already signed up for the Zipline technology in Nigeria.

Zipline has recently expanded into the Ivory Coast, Arkansas, US with Walmart, and North Carolina,  with Magellan Rx Management.

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