Zipline, a world leader in instant logistics, is launching operations in another African nation with on-demand drone deliveries of medical supplies in Kenya’s Kisumu County.
Under the agreement between the two parties, Zipline will establish a similar mode of operation that it initially rolled out in Rwanda in 2016, and has since improved and expanded under partnerships with Ghana, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast. Once its Kenyan storage and flight management center is prepared, Zipline will conduct automated drone flights of medicines and supplies to health facilities in Kisumu County.
The link-up is another example of how officials across Africa have been turning to Zipline to create regular drone delivery networks of medical supplies to remote or difficult to access areas that often need them most. That’s part of a swiftly spreading ambition across the continent to create universal health care by taking treatment to underserved locales by air.
“We have made some significant efforts in improving the overall healthcare delivery of our people,” said Kisumu County Governor H.E. Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o. “It is heartwarming to note, therefore, that our mission of achieving universal health coverage is on course with this historic partnership which will ensure that no one is left behind as a result of their location.”
Under the accord, the new UAV logistics hub in Kisumu County – a member of the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) representing 14 million people, or 30% of Kenya’s population – will gradually service health projects and clinics in 16 other western counties as well.
“It is our commitment as LREB to deliver an aggressive agenda of building a robust health delivery system that will not only serve a few, but the vast majority of people within LREB Counties,” said LREB Chairman Wycliffe Oparany. “Zipline’s technology is one we can resort to in accelerating the transformation of our health systems to provide timely healthcare solutions to the people on whose mandate we serve.”
Once the new Zipline logistics hub is operational, it will oversee on-demand drone deliveries of up to 1.8 kilos of blood products, COVID-19 vaccines, and other potentially life-saving medical supplies. The UAV can cruise up to 110 km/h on maximum 160-kilometer round-trips in even adverse weather conditions, and it will operate seven days per week to ensure health care payloads reach their destinations within 30 minutes.
In addition to just-in-time deliveries of urgently needed drugs, routine flights of medical supplies by Zipline drones will permit facilities to avoid running dangerously low or out of provisions.
“We’ve seen how automated, on-demand delivery can transform healthcare systems to make them more efficient, effective and equitable,” said Keller Rinaudo, and CEO of Zipline, which also operates in the US. “Zipline’s expansion into Kenya, our seventh country, in partnership with Kisumu County, is a pivotal step forward to expand these important benefits to more communities around the world.”