Nigeria has made history, joining other countries of the world like Ghana and Rwanda to easily and timely ferry needed medical commodities, including vaccines and blood across difficult terrains with drones.
This is as instant logistics drone services operator, Zipline, has just commenced commercial deliveries of medical commodities through drones, to health facilities in Kaduna State.
The company announced that Initial deliveries have been successfully made to Galadimawa HC, Kauru LGA among other facilities.
The health facilities are among several medical centres in Kaduna earmarked to be rolled onto Zipline’s logistics platform for the speedy dispensing of healthcare.
The distribution centre, located in Pambegua, Kaduna state, is the first hub to be opened in Nigeria to support the government’s effort to send medical logistics to health facilities within the state.
Speaking after the scheduled delivery of vaccines to the facility, Chongfilawos Irimiya, a medical staff at Galadimawa PHC, said, “We thank God for Zipline. We are in the bush and cut off from urban facilities. We used to go very far to the Apex centres to get our vaccine, which is very stressful and uncomfortable, but with Zipline, all that is now in the past”.
General Manager of Zipline Nigeria, Ms. Catherine Odiase, said since Zipline commissioned the distribution hub in June 2022, it has been working with the aviation regulatory authority to finalise the required approvals to operate these autonomous aerial vehicles in Kaduna.
She stated that the successful completion of the approval processes paved the way for the start of commercial flights.
Odiase commended the regulatory authorities for the fruitful engagements leading to the commencement of flight operations, adding that “the company is pleased to have received the necessary regulatory approval to be able to support the health needs of the community”. She added that “our technology has proven to be a great resource in helping government achieve access to universal healthcare.
“By this, we remain committed to ensuring that we support the government of Kaduna in meeting this target by way of efficient delivery of medical commodities and other products as will be agreed, to all parts of the state within 40 minutes or less from our distribution hub”.
She pledged the readiness of Zipline to continue to partner with governments to ensure no one in the country is left behind in access to the basic healthcare delivery services.
The first of three distribution hubs of Zipline to be sited in Kaduna has the capacity of delivering medical supplies to over 500 health facilities within an 80km radius at a speed of 110km/hr rain/shine: day/night.
Zipline also has the capacity to deliver other products including animal health vaccines and e-commerce products.
In February 2021, Zipline announced plans to construct three distribution centres in Kaduna State, Nigeria, supported by the Federal government. The state’s intent is to use Zipline’s services to transport health products, including blood, medication, and routine vaccines.
In May 2021, Zipline announced a similar agreement with Cross River State, followed by the announcement of another agreement with Bayelsa State.
Zipline’s drone delivery system is dedicated to expanding access to goods around the globe.
Over the years, the company has demonstrated ability to work with governments and health systems to transform health supply chains to be accessible and work more effectively.
In total, the company has made more than 370,897 commercial deliveries containing more than five million units of vaccines and other medical products to facilities in Rwanda, Ghana, Japan and the United States, where it is based.
Nigeria is the third African country to use Zipline services, following national-scale operations in Ghana and Rwanda with operations in Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire to be launched later this year.