World’s largest drone delivery network being established in Ghana

Following the successful drone delivery system in Rwanda, Zipline is now building a nationwide drone delivery network in Ghana.

At New Tafo Hospital in eastern Ghana, when doctors need emergency medicine or blood for a transplant, if that medicine or blood is not in stock at the hospital, all they have to do is send a text message. Within 15 minutes, a drone comes to the hospital, drops the needed blood or medicine from the sky with a parachute, and the doctors can continue the treatment.

Drones take off from four drone delivery centers established in the country. It is aimed that this drone network will be expanded to serve 2,000 health centers and 12 million people in the region. When the system operates at full capacity, 600 delivery flights per day are envisaged in the country on behalf of the state. This drone network, run by a company called Zipline, is the world’s largest drone delivery service.

Rwanda and Ghana did what the USA couldn’t

In the US, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been making plans for drone delivery since 2013, but only some testing has been done so far. In Africa, on the other hand, Zipline started regular drone deliveries in Rwanda in 2016, and the company’s drones have covered a total of 1 million kilometers so far. All of Rwanda can now be delivered by drone. The service is now gearing up to operate on a larger scale in Ghana.

Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo said: “There is a management in Ghana that is investing a lot in infrastructure and healthcare technologies. By establishing this partnership, we aimed to provide health services to everyone across the country. This is definitely a big step in this field. Thanks to the system, every citizen will be at most 15 minutes away from any drug.” he said.

The drone network solves a problem that exists around the world today: It is difficult to get drugs and vaccines from central storage facilities to remote hospitals and health centers at the right time. In the USA, these drugs are either stored in hospitals and expired drugs are thrown away, or rural patients have to make expensive trips to central hospitals. In Africa, if the medicine or blood is not in the hands of the hospital, this may mean the death of the patient.

The system is constantly being developed

When Zipline started operating in Rwanda in 2016, it was the world’s first drone service, and the team has continually improved the system. “We had to renew every part of the system: software, distribution center design, road traffic control, healthcare system and integration with regulators… All of this had to change before we could operate at this scale. It took two years for the company to reach 25 health centers from a single health center in Rwanda. The new target is to reach 2,000 health centers in Ghana within nine months.

The company is now preparing to serve in other countries. Among these countries is the USA. Systems in the new countries will apply what the company learned in Africa. Most likely, these systems will be headed by African engineers who have perfected the system in their own country. Rinaudo “Rwandan and Ghanaian flight engineers and delivery operators are doing what the world’s richest companies try to do but fail to do today.” he said.

Source: Fast Company

When doctors at New Tafo Hospital in eastern Ghana need emergency medicine or blood for a transplant, if the medicine or blood is not in stock at the hospital, all they have to do is send a text message. Within 15 minutes, a drone comes to the hospital, drops the needed blood or medicine from the sky with a parachute, and doctors can continue the treatment. Drones take off from four drone delivery centers established in the country. It is aimed that this drone network will be expanded to serve 2,000 health centers and 12 million people in the region. When the system operates at full capacity, 600 delivery flights per day are envisaged in the country on behalf of the state. This drone network, run by a company called Zipline, is the world’s largest drone delivery service.

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