President Akufo-Addo has lauded his government’s decision to introduce drones in healthcare delivery, positioning the country as the host of the world’s largest medical drone delivery network.
President Akufo-Addo said this in the State of the Nation address delivered on March 8, 2023, at the Parliament House, where he highlighted the country’s progress in the Health sector since the global logistics delivery company Zipline established delivery hubs across the country.
The government’s partnership with Zipline seems to have been a game-changer in Ghana’s healthcare delivery system. The service has been instrumental in delivering critical medicines, vaccines and blood to health facilities in Ghana. The country now boasts six distribution centres in Omenako, Mpanya, Vobsi, Sefwi Wiawso, Kete Krachi and Anum, making it the largest aerial logistics delivery network in the world.
In his address, President Akufo-Addo said, “Zipline’s drone delivery service is firmly established, and the country now has six (6) centres, making Ghana the largest drone delivery network in the world. Zipline, through the national drone delivery services, has delivered more than 14.8 million units of lifesaving medicines, vaccines and blood products to health facilities by the end of 2022”.
“Childhood vaccines top the list with the delivery of 8.3 million doses, followed by 2.05 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines,” President Akufo-Addo added.
The introduction of drones in the delivery of critical medicine, vaccines and blood products to people in various communities became more crucial in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. During the period, Covid-19 samples for testing and highly sensitive vaccines from donor countries, pharmaceutical industries and the COVAX initiative were transported via Zipline drones to expedite vaccine inoculation and disease management.
The result marked Ghana as one of the countries with the least vaccine expiry and wastage due to Zipline’s fast delivery particularly to remote areas of Ghana.
The success of Ghana’s drone delivery service has not gone unnoticed on the global stage and has been widely praised for its efficiency and effectiveness. In 2020, Zipline’s aerial logistics distribution services won the “Award for Corporate Excellence in Health Security” from the US Secretary of State for using drone technology to deliver medical supplies in communities in Africa.
Zipline’s service in Ghana has become a model for many countries, prompting other African nations to implement similar systems to improve their healthcare delivery systems. Zipline began operating in Ghana in 2019 and has successfully expanded to Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Japan and the USA.
Ghana’s achievement in establishing the world’s largest drone delivery network is a significant milestone in the country’s efforts to leverage innovative technology to improve the lives of its citizens.