ACCRA, 5 March 2021 – Ghana has become the first country anywhere in the world to use drones to deliver COVID-19 vaccines at a national scale.
Asuofua Health Center was the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines via Zipline’s drone delivery, with other health centres due to be added as directed by the Ghana Health Service.
Zipline launched the deliveries Thursday to sleected health facilities across the west African country.
“We are proud to be part of this significant milestone in Ghana where our drone logistics network is able to provide on-demand, last-mile delivery of COVID-19 vaccine at scale. Across the country,” said Zipline CEO and co-founder Keller Rinaudo.
Last February 4, Zipline, an American company with its Africa headquarters in Kigali, Rwanda, announced that it will use its fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles to distribute COVID-19 vaccines in Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria and across remote areas of the United States.
“We are leading the way in using revolutionary drone technology to provide on-demand delivery of medical supplies and vaccine to our people who need them the most,” said Zipline Africa Senior Vice-President, Daniel Marfo.
Half of Ghana’s inhabitants live in difficult-to-reach rural or remote areas, away from major urban centers linked by efficient road networks.
“Not only does this make Ghana the world’s first country to deploy drones on a natonal scale for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, but is also a giant effort in ensuring equitable access and enabling Ghana to fully utilize its healthcare infrastructure to deliver vaccines,” said Rinaudo.
Zipline is helping distribute some of the 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford delivered by COVAX to Ghana last February 23 from Pune, India.
The vaccines are transferred by UPS ground the Zipline distribution centers at Mpanya in the Ashanti region from where they are dispatched to health centers.
Ghana is building on its experience using drones last December to deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) to poll workers during the last presidential election in the country.
Zipline specializes in delivering blood, vaccines and other medical equipment using drones. [Watch video below for an explanation of how Zipline drones deliver medicine swiftly and efficiently].