Drone logistics company Swoop Aero has made some pretty impressive inroads in commercial services this year, but of late has turned heads in once again expanding its version of Ziplines’ “drones for good” in making medical deliveries across Africa.
Melbourne-based Swoop Aero on Friday announced its decision to begin drone logistics services in Namibia. The main focus will be on the distribution of medical and healthcare goods across the southwestern African nation and is slated to start in 2022.
Earlier this month, the company conducted test flights of a new UAV delivery operation it will run in Sierra Leone with UAVaid. In March, the company won Australia’s AAUS Humanitarian Achievement award for its work in Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mozambique in speeding up the transport of treatments and test results between hospitals and remote villages in an effort to battle a range of diseases.
In commencing medical drone logistics work in Namibia, Aero Swoop will seek to improve healthcare access for the 2.5 million residents spread across the vast nation, where the socio-economic disparity between cities and remote areas is just as big.
“Our vision is for a world where seamless supply chains bring emotional and economic prosperity to all they serve,” said Swoop Aero CEO and co-founder Eric Peck. “Healthcare logistics is our bread and butter and we’ve carefully modeled our end-to-end service offering from real-world experience across seven different nations. We’re excited to start operations in Namibia and deliver unique life-saving measures and strengthen the safe hands of healthcare providers and hospitals alongside our partners.”
Much like Zipline, Swoop Aero’s operating model in African countries involves hiring and training local staff to provide much of the effort and brain-power in improving access to healthcare through expanded, efficient medical drone logistics. That approach is applied in operational centers, as well as remote destinations being served, and has simultaneously benefitted the local employment situation and health services.
In Mawali, for example, the company has hired 12 full-time local staff and trained 70 health workers who oversaw the 5,000-plus flights carried out in the country. Six Democratic Republic of Congo nationals operate Swoop Aero aircraft in that country, in what the firm calls the largest two-way drone network in the world, serving 100 villages.
“Our core goal as a company is to provide a drone logistics service to 100 million people in 2025, and grow that impact to make it accessible by one billion people by 2030,” said Peck. “Operations in Namibia will be the eighth country using the Swoop Aero logistics platform. We’re dedicated to creating solutions to global challenges, and are proud to continue delivering to new communities in Namibia”.
Swoop Aero’s Namibian operation will be supported through a strategic partnership with local health services company Macquarie Medical Care. The announcement comes just days after the company was authorized to fly beyond visual line of sight on medical drone logistics missions in Australia’s northeastern Queensland state.
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