Anambra to partner Zipline for drug deliveries to remote locations via drones
person_pin Okey Onwuka
query_builder February 22, 2020 14:08:52

By Ebele Egoh/Chukwudi Nwauba  :

Awka, Feb. 22, 2020 (MOI) Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala says the health ministry plans to partner Zipline, a drug delivery company via drones to begin deliveries to hard-to-reach communities of the state.

Dr Okpala said this while addressing newsmen at the State Central Store, Awka, after an inspection with the African Representative of Zipline, Mr Yaniv Gelnik.

During the inspection, the commissioner re-emphasised Gov. Willie Obiano's commitment toward the healthcare sector of the state.

He expressed gratitude to Mr Gelnik, who was on ground to inspect the state facilities and to evaluate opportunities in the drug drone service delivery.

``We have seen the work they are doing in Rwanda, where they crashed incidences of deaths from postpartum haemorrhage; bleeding after delivery by women, down to zero.

``Postpartum haemorrhage is often defined as loss of more than 500 ml or 1,000 ml of blood within the first 24 hours following childbirth. There are also signs or symptoms of low blood volume for such conditions to exist.

``They have covered the entire Rwanda and also delivering same services in Ghana.’’

The commissioner noted that in Anambra, massive opportunities existed in hard-to-reach areas like Anambra North, Anambra East and other riverine communities.

Dr Okpala noted that partnering the company would be an opportunity for them to improve on delivery of blood and other essential medications to AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria patients.

``Delivery of medications like Pitocin will help women during deliveries so that they don't bleed while maintaining the potency of the medications.

``We will like to see these services deployed in Anambra State,’’ Dr Okpala stressed.

The commissioner praised Gov. Obiano for granting approval to the Ministry to explore opportunities for this service, which according to him will be help health delivery in the state.

Zipline’s African Representative, Mr Gelnik said: ``from what I have seen so far, the state will be ready for the partnership’’.

He explained that Zipline’s Medical Product Delivery Company, with headquarters in South San Francisco, California, U.S., designed, built and operated distribution centres in Rwanda and Ghana.

He said that the company began drone deliveries in Rwanda in 2016 and primarily delivered blood and other essential commodities.

``We are specialised in delivering critical and life saving products precisely where and when they are needed, safely, reliably, everyday and across multiple countries.

``Since Zipline was founded in 2014, we have built the world’s fastest and most reliable delivery drones, the world’s largest autonomous logistics network with truly amazing team.

``We have started the process of applying for clearance from Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA); once we receive permission, Anambra State will be the first state in Nigeria to use drone technology for this service.

``Visiting the facilities, I am impressed with what is in place, the facilities are well managed; in fact it meets our standards,’’ he said.

Mr Gelnik said that he would be very happy if the state would become the first to use drone technology in Nigeria. (MOI)