In a deal with Ivory Coast’s government, Instant Logistics specialist Zipline is broadening its activities in Africa to operate drone deliveries of medical supplies throughout the large West African nation.
After French language online media reported the agreement earlier this week, Zipline announced today the accord with the Ivory Coast’s Ministry of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Health Coverage. The agreement calls for Zipline to deliver vaccines, medication, blood products, and other medical supplies to health facilities across a nation of 26.4 million people.
The project represents Zipline’s first activity in the Ivory Coast, and it will likely be a major undertaking to boot.
It involves the construction and operation of four distribution centers, from which an array of medication, treatments, and materials will be stored and dispatched on demand to over 1,000 health facilities around the country. The first of those instant logistics installations is expected to be operational by the end of next year – perhaps as early as autumn.
The agreement also calls for Zipline to serve as the unique supplier to selected health facilities in many remote regions of the Ivory Coast, an arrangement seeking to create faster, more efficient, and economical distribution of medical supplies to them. Additionally, the company will offer its support to all Ivorian organizations running emergency response services.
Since it began operating medical drone deliveries in Rwanda in 2016, Zipline has continually expanded its instant medical logistics activities to other African nations like Ghana and Niger. Meanwhile, Zipline has pursued drone deliveries to remote communities in the US, North Carolina, and last month announced fewer medical drops to mobile patients in the Salt Lake City area.
The expansion of that to the Ivory Coast’s rapidly-developing society and economy marks an additional example of Zipline’s business model of using drones for good.
“Establishing universal health coverage is one of the ministry’s top priority, and we believe that this bold decision to partner Zipline is one sure way of achieving it”, said Pierre N’gou Dimba, Ivorian Minister of Health, Public Hygiene, and Universal Health Coverage. “We evaluated Zipline’s capacities, its operations in other African countries with similar needs to ours, and we truly believe that this partnership will help us to remove access barriers to health care and create a more equitable and efficient health system across the country.”
As has been the case in other African nations where it operates instant logistics and medical drone deliveries, the construction and operation of Zipline’s centers in the Ivory Coast is expected to generate jobs for locals. Given the often high rate of unemployment in some parts of the country, the new agreement may bring economic benefits along with an improved circulation of medical supplies and health care to Ivorian citizens.
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