Zipline drones deliver one million COVID vaccinations in Ghana

Zipline drone deliveries

Leading instant logistics company Zipline has said it has made over a million drone deliveries of COVID-19 vaccination doses in Ghana, marking another milestone in its efforts to help governments in Africa and around the globe broaden access to healthcare, improving treatment capabilities through fast and effective supply distribution.

Zipline made the announcement on Wednesday, accompanied by findings of a qualitative study on how the company’s automated, on-demand drone deliveries have benefitted Ghana’s healthcare system more broadly. The one-million Covid-19 doses distributed was part of the more than more than five million vaccines jabs against various diseases Zipline UAVs have transported in Ghana since starting operation in the country in 2019.

Protecting their citizens from the worst of the pandemic became a major priority of Ghanaian officials since the virus began spreading across the globe.

“Our partnership with Zipline has played a vital role in Ghana’s robust administration of COVID-19 vaccines to combat the pandemic and foster healthier communities,” said Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, director general of Ghana Health Service. “Through Zipline’s automated, on-demand delivery service and other efforts by the government, we’ve been able to rapidly and equitably distribute vaccines to many parts of the country.” 

Though active in an increasing number of nations across Africa, Ghana was one of the earliest countries to partner with Zipline to improve healthcare through drone deliveries. To date, the company’s UAVs have flown 13 million miles around the nation delivering blood products, medicines, and sundry medical supplies to six distribution centers serving over 15 million people. Zipline plans to open two additional facilities later this year in the continued push to bring access to healthcare to places and people who had little or none before.

“We’re proud to play a key role in Ghana’s healthcare transformation,” said Daniel Marfo, Zipline’s senior vice president of Africa. “They’ve made critical investments in addressing the systemic challenges of the healthcare supply chain. These investments have had a profound impact on the availability of medicines and vaccines, enabling patients to reliably access the care they need.”

Indeed, a new third-party study the company revealed also shows how Zipline’s automated drone logistics network has benefitted Ghana’s ability to care for its people beyond targeted deliveries of vaccines during surges of Covid-19 and other maladies.

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the survey showed Zipline drone deliveries in Ghana have decreased the number of vaccine stockouts by 60% and cut inventory-driven missed vaccination opportunities by 42% since they began operating in 2019. They also reduced the amount of days health services had to function without critical medical supplies by 21%, while increasing the variety of medicines and other stocks at those facilities by 10%.

“Robust evidence gives companies like Zipline fuller visibility into how its service is used and whether desired outcomes are reached,” said Dr. Valentina Brailovskaya, principal investigator in the study. “We encourage Zipline and the Ghana Ministry of Health to keep the momentum of evidence generation and think critically about how to further improve medical supply chains and, ultimately, patient care.”

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