Zipline, an innovative drone delivery service, says it has made significant strides in revolutionising the healthcare sector in Ghana over the past four years.
Since its launch in April 2019, Zipline has been working in partnership with the government to deliver essential medical supplies, including COVID-19 immunisations, blood products, animal health commodities, and other life-saving drugs, to 2,700 health facilities throughout the country, positively impacting the lives of an estimated 20 million people.
According to Mawuli Atiemo, General Manager of Zipline, his outfit has completed 370,000 deliveries of medical products, blood supplies, vaccines and animal health commodities to date. Their proudest achievement lies in the delivery of almost 11 million life-saving vaccines, ensuring that Ghanaians have seamless access to crucial inoculations. Over 5 million units of various medical supplies have been successfully delivered, effectively equipping healthcare facilities to cater for the diverse needs of their communities.
“This timely and efficient delivery has played a significant role in reducing COVID-19 mortality in Ghana, demonstrating the immense impact of our intervention,” the General Manager said.
Zipline played a crucial role in ensuring easy access to vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the company’s collaboration with the government, over 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were delivered to healthcare institutions and community health workers across the country, reducing COVID-19 mortality significantly.
Childhood immunisation has also been a key focus for Zipline, and as the company has successfully delivered over eight million doses of these vaccines under the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI).
“By ensuring a consistent supply of childhood vaccines to healthcare facilities, often located in the hardest-to-reach and most underserved areas, and actively supporting the efforts of the Ministry of Health, we have made significant strides in reducing missed immunisation opportunities and ultimately contributing to the decline in child mortality rates in Ghana,” said Mr. Atiemo.
Similarly, Zipline has supported maternal healthcare by supporting midwives and nurses through the delivery of essential blood products. It has also made timely deliveries of anti-snake venoms and other medications to create efficiency in the delivery chain.
The Zipline Omenako Distribution Centre is one of the six centres the company has built in partnership with the government for the distribution of essential medical supplies to those who need them the most.
An independent study by IDinsight, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, found that in Ghana, Zipline reduced missed vaccination opportunities by 42 percent and the duration of vaccine stockouts by 60 percent. Additionally, the study found that Zipline increased the types of medicines and supplies stocked at health facilities by 10 percent, expanding the range of healthcare services that can be provided to communities across the country.
Zipline is unwavering in its commitment to ensuring equitable access to quality healthcare for every Ghanaian, regardless of their geographical location. They firmly believe that geographical barriers should not hinder individuals from receiving the healthcare they need.
The deputy Minister of Health, Alhaji Mahan Asei, described the partnership between the government and Zipline as a shining example of what can be achieved when the public and private sectors join forces with a common purpose.
“Through this partnership, we have made Ghana a global leader in the use of drones for medical logistics; the significance of this collaboration cannot be overemphasised. Zipline’s drones have flown hundreds of miles over the last four years, bringing blood, vaccines and crucial medications to isolated villages throughout the country,” the deputy minister stated.
He also expressed the government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for Zipline to function while optimising standard operating procedures to be more focused on underserved populations.
United States Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer, commended Zipline’s commitment to home-grown talent, noting that she was excited to see a good number of young people in their talent pool, and pledged the support of the US Government to build on Zipline’s success.
“The US Government is working with Zipline to build on this success. The US trade and development agencies signed a grant earlier this year to fund feasibility studies to develop the infrastructure for rapid delivery by drones of medicines and commercial goods across Ghana and the West Africa region,” she said.
Zipline’s innovative drone delivery service has created a seamless network of delivery services to overcome geographical barriers, reduce delivery times and save lives. The company has assured of its commitment to further expanding operations and leveraging cutting-edge technology, enhancing logistics capabilities, and forging new partnerships to reach even more communities and ensure no one is left behind.