President Nana Akufo-Addo, on Thursday launched a medical drone delivery base in Mampong in Ashanti Region as part of his three-day tour of the Region.
This centre is the second after the inauguration of the first in Omenako in the Eastern Region earlier this year.
A statement from Zipleline Ghana limited and copied to the Ghana news Agency in Accra said, like the facility in Omenako, the Mampong operation used drones to make on-demand and emergency deliveries of 12 routine and emergency vaccines as well as 148 blood products and critical medicines.
Zipline, a California-based robotics company, operates the medical drone delivery service with support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UPS Foundation and other partners.
It said Ghana's Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) would supply Zipline with Gavi-supported vaccines for delivery, including; Yellow Fever, Polio, Measles & Rubella, Meningitis, Pneumococcal , and Diphtheria & Tetanus, among others.
It will also leverage Zipline's delivery service for future mass immunisation programmes in the country and will operate seven days a week with the goal of delivering to up to 500 health facilities in the Ashanti region.
The third drone delivery base will be launched later this year and the fourth soon after that.
Since launching in April of 2019, the Omenako base has made more than 1300 aerial deliveries across the Eastern Region to deliver more than 7,000 critical and emergency medicines to patients in need and helped to save many lives.
Omenako is now serving 52 health facilities with many more expected to be added in succeeding weeks, as new routes are approved, and facilities are trained.
By April of 2020, all four bases will make up to 600 on-demand delivery flights a day on behalf of the Government of Ghana to close to 2,000 health facilities across the country.
"When we said we were going to use drones to deliver essential medical health products, the naysayers said it was not possible; Today, many of us are seeing how impactful this service has been just within the past five months of its operations," President Akufo-Addo said.
It said "Every single life in this country is precious. Every mother, every child, every parent, every person. We must do everything within our means to ensure that each and every citizen of Ghana has access to the quality healthcare they deserve.
Mr Keller Rinaudo, Chief Executive Officer of Zipeline Ghana said "Ghana has become a world leader in using drones to increase health care access and save lives. And other countries are taking note, We Working together we've already helped to save many lives. And we're determined to help save many more in the years to come."
Access to vital health products around the world is hampered by the last mile problem: the difficulty of matching the supply of medicine from central storage to the demand at urban and rural health facilities. All too often, people requiring life-saving care do not get the medicine they need when they need it. Zipline's medical drone delivery system is designed to eliminate this problem.
To increase access and reduce medical waste, key stock of blood products, vaccines, and life-saving medications are stored at Zipline's base for just-in-time delivery. Health workers place orders by text message or call and promptly receive their deliveries in 30 minutes on average.
The drones both take off from and land at Zipline's base, 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.
Several partners provided generous contributions to support the establishment of Zipline's service in Ghana in the interest of advancing universal health access.
Zipline is hard at work catching up to demand to expand drone delivery services to developed and developing countries across Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Americas, including; the United States. In 2020. The company plans to expand to Maharashtra, India, as part of a state government initiative to bring all 120 million of its citizens within range of instant medical delivery by drone.
Zipline's goal is to serve 700 million people in the next five years.
It is an automated logistics company based in California. The company and includes seasoned aerospace veterans from teams like SpaceX, Google, Boeing, and NASA—designs and operates an autonomous system for delivering life-saving medicine to the world's most difficult to reach places. Zipline's mission is to provide every human on Earth with instant access to vital medical supplies. The most respected investors in the world support Zipline, including Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.