San Francisco based tech start-up Zipline has developed a drone delivery system to get desperately needed blood and medical supplies to outlying hospitals and doctors in Rwanda.
The first trial is proving so successful; they’re hoping to expand operations in neighboring African countries.
Rwanda launched the world’s first national drone delivery system, which is currently using to deliver blood to patients in remote areas of the country.
The drones, manufactured by California robotics company Zipline, deliver blood to 21 transfusing facilities in the western part of Rwanda, where poor roads and healthcare infrastructure have often made it difficult to reach patients in need.
Different surveys have ranked Rwanda among African top performers in regards with improvement of Maternal and Child Health, fight against fatal infectious diseases such as HIV and other communicable diseases.
The Demographic and Health Survey 2014 –2015 has shown a great achievement in reducing under-5 children mortality rate by almost 75% in 16 years and in ensuring that almost 100% of births are attended by a skilled provider.
The Solution Rwanda’s national drone delivery program enables blood transfusion clinics across the Western half of the country to place emergency orders by cell phone text message. The orders are then received by both Zipline at its base and NCBT. Zipline is , based in Muhanga District where the
Company maintains a fleet of 15 drones, also called Zips.
Each Zip can fly up to 150 km round trip—even in wind and rain—and carry 1.5kg of blood, which is enough to serve a patient in need.
Zips take off and land at the Nest, and make deliveries by descending close to the ground and air dropping medicine to a designated spot called a “mailbox”near the health centers they serve.
Zipline makes 50-150 emergency flights a day to 21 transfusion clinics across the Western Half of Rwanda and can fulfill orders in around 30 minutes.