KIGALI, 18 February 2021 – The drone firm Ziplline will deliver medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) to health centers and hospitals across Rwanda.
Supplies will be delivered on a non-stop basis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to Zipline’s country director, Joseph Ndagijimana.
He confirmed that Zipline has secured clearance from the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority to operate around the clock.
Zipline first started serving health centers and hospitals in Rwanda in 2016 and demand from hospitals for supplies delivered after-hours, notably at night, has been in sharp increase.
In the absence of night-time service, some officials from their partner hospitals started picking up products they needed for night-time emergencies from Zipline warehouses.
This pushed us “to expand our operations to be able to sustain even the emergencies at night,” Ndagijimana said, adding the hospitals now know they can call Zipline at any time of the day.
Zipline has a fleet of about 65 drones, with a capacity to carry out 150 deliveries provided daily to the 320 health facilities with which the firm has established partnerships.
Zipline currently delivers more than 200 different medical products including emergency vaccines.
The next stage of service to Rwandese will be home delivery, Zipline’s country director Ndagijimana told reporters Thursday in Kigali.
“We are also thinking about delivering products directly to some patient’s homes, at some point,” Zipline’s Ndagijimana told reporters on Wednesday.
Zipline describes itself as designed to deliver “critical and lifesaving products precisely where and when they are needed, safely and reliably, every day, across multiple countries”.
So far, the Rwanda-based firm has launched operations in Ghana and the United States, where it started operating last May.