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Zipline is expanding access to health care in Nigeria using drones

Zipline will now be offering services in the Nigerian Bayelsa State. This is after the global leader in instant logistics announced a partnership with the government of the said state. The aim is to expand access of essential medicines, blood and other medical commodities to health facilities within the state.

The Bayelsa signing follows Kaduna and Cross River states that have already signed onto the Zipline technology in Nigeria. 

Zipline operates unmanned aircrafts that can fly 160 km round trips, in strong winds and rain, day or night, to make on-demand deliveries in 30 minutes on average.

The company’s drones have flown 18 million autonomous miles to deliver millions of doses of vaccines, units of blood, and critical and life saving medications to thousands of health facilities serving more than 25 million people across three countries. 

According to the agreement between Zipline and the Bayelsa State government:

  • Zipline will establish a distribution hub in the state for introduction, operation and maintenance of a just-in-time instant logistics solution
  • This will be done to ensure essential drugs, blood, and a selection of other live-saving supplies are available to the State health facilities.

When completed, the service will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, day or night, from the distribution center which will be equipped with Zipline’s proprietary fleet of drones.

“We remain well committed to delivering an aggressive agenda of building a dependable health delivery system in Bayelsa, part of which has given birth to this partnership. We envisage that this partnership will remain one of the most significant ways of removing the access barriers that mitigates easy delivery of medical commodities to our health facilities;” said H.E. Douye Diri, Governor of Bayelsa State. “Even distribution of on-demand medical commodities to remote and hard-to-reach areas do not only safe lives but also become a significant way of managing waste that happens as a result of expiry of medicines” 

“Zipline is pleased to partner with the people and Government of Bayelsa to advance instant, autonomous healthcare delivery across the state,” said Zipline CEO, Keller Rinaudo. “This partnership is an important milestone for Zipline as we scale smart, safe and just-in-time delivery technology and transform how goods move around the globe.” 

The Snr. Vice President for Zipline Africa, Daniel Marfo assured that Zipline will begin the construction process immediately so as to stay within the agreed timelines.  “We are committed to rapidly meeting our side of this agreement, part of which entails building of a distribution hub from where we will store and deliver the medical commodities and employ hundreds local team members from Bayelsa. Our system is well tested across Africa and the United States, and there is no doubt that it is a giant step in expanding universal healthcare access in Nigeria.”

On her part, the State Commissioner of Health,  Dr. Pabara Newton Igwele said “This partnership is significant to us as it will complement our efforts in hitching up primary health care delivery services in Bayelsa. There is no doubt that leveraging technology for medical delivery should be a game changer for even distribution of medical commodities.” 

To ensure sustainability and continuous availability of medical products within the value chain for distribution, the Bayelsa State Government, represented by the Ministry of Health, has separately entered an agreement with DrugStoc, Health Spaces, Sterling Bank and Zipline – forming a consortium. This consortium, being led by Zipline, will ensure the availability of safe, quality and affordable drugs and medicines to all residents of the state in all its health facilities. 

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