The Drone Technology Company, Zipline has announced the start of commercial deliveries of essential medical products to health facilities within the Cross-River State.
This follows a successful approval and a right to fly drone certification from the Civil Aviation Authorities in Nigeria.
Health officials at the Maternal and Child Health Clinic (MCH), recipients of the very first delivery of a medical product from the Ndok distribution center of Zipline, were full of excitement to learn that the challenge of access and unavailability of medical products for their clients are now a thing of the past.
Also, Mr Godwin Ipuole, the health officer-in-charge of Primary Health Center, Ibil – Ogoja, expressed appreciation to the state government for the bold decision to use technology to remove the access barriers that many far-to-reach communities, like Ibil, face in the course of their work.
“Vaccine stock-outs have been a huge challenge to us. Our inability to always meet the health needs of our clients, simply on the grounds of non-availability of essential medicines lowers our motivation. I have no doubt that with such a transformative technology, our primary challenge of access will be a thing of the past”, he said.
Cross River State becomes the second state in Nigeria after Kaduna State to go commercial with the use of Zipline drone technology. The Director General of the Cross-River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Deaconess Mrs Abasioffiong Offiong, said the decision to partner Zipline was to support the efforts of the State in the quest to achieve Universal Health Coverage.
Mrs Abasioffiong was speaking after leading all the eighteen LGA Primary Health Care Directors on a tour of the Zipline Facility in Ogoja. She was hopeful that the technology will play a key role in the overall healthcare delivery within the State. “It is our expectation that all medical commodities to all the primary healthcare agencies within the various local governments will be sourced from Zipline. With the degree of efficiency that Zipline puts into their work, we anticipate that all essential medicines requested will be delivered timely and within the right conditions. This is an opportunity for us as a State to improve the overall universal health delivery project we have committed to deliver”.
Zipline, as part of the memorandum of understanding with the Cross River State, will build and operate two distribution centers from where they will store essential medicines and vaccines. Health workers will place orders by text message or call and promptly receive their deliveries exactly when and where they need them in 30 minutes on average.
“Our technology is proven to be one of choice for the last mile delivery. By this partnership with the Cross-River State, we should immediately begin seeing very significant improvements in the delivery of essential medicines and vaccines to health facilities within our operational area”, said Catherine Odiase, General Manager of Zipline Nigeria.
“We are deeply indebted to the State government and all the state agencies that worked tirelessly to get us the required certification for the commencement of commercial deliveries in Cross River State”.
Zipline drones fly autonomously and can carry 3 kilos of cargo, cruising at 110 kilometers an hour, and have a round trip range of 220 kilometers – 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 centers and community delivery points it serves.
Zipline operates on three continents and completes an instant delivery on behalf of businesses and governments every two minutes. To date, Zipline has delivered more than 500,000 packages, more than 5 million products, and flown more than 40 million autonomous miles – 20 times the amount that the world’s largest autonomous vehicle company has completed.