Health

We use aerial logistics to deliver, prevent COVID-19 vaccine expiries – Zipline

The Government of Ghana in 2019 announced a partnership with the aerial logistics delivery company as part of efforts to ensure the seamless distribution of medical logistics, blood and medications to hard-to-reach communities in the country.

Access to healthcare delivery especially in rural communities have been a major hindrance to Ghana’s efforts to effectively implement the United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 3 that calls on countries to achieve Universal Access to Healthcare delivery by 2030. Although several interventions have been made to increase access to medical healthcare delivery, equity remains a challenge. How people who face daily difficulties in accessing basic healthcare are relieved from these challenges significantly improves the efforts to achieve Universal Healthcare Coverage.

Through Zipline’s instant logistics service, patients and health professionals alike have been able to access critical medications, blood and blood components needed to save lives. The distribution and logistical support such as the one provided by Zipline has ensured that health emergencies and diseases in many parts of Ghana, including the hard-to-reach areas  are addressed swiftly just as experienced in the urban areas. So far, the interventions made have seen drastic improvements in the overall health delivery system. In Western North Region for instance, Zipline’s logistics system with its high end cold chain storage system has been the sole distributor of all programmed immunization vaccines to the Region, serving over 350 health facilities.

Mr. Daniel Marfo, the Snr Vice President of Zipline, Africa, remarked: “It’s been a great honor for us for the past three years to see how our revolutionary technology has expanded to significantly impact the overall last mile access to critical medical commodities across health facilities in Ghana. We are indeed proud of the gains we have made both as a country company.  Our partnership with the government has made Ghana the first country in the world to use leverage aerial logistics to deliver COVID-19 vaccines thereby offering an even on-demand distribution of the vaccines and preventing expiries. We have grown our operations sites from one to six within just three years and delivered over one-million other medical commodities to over two-thousand health facilities”

It is no surprise that Ghana, today, is recognized as the world’s first national-scale instant logistics delivery service.  The reliability of the service in the logistics delivery industry has seen the uptake of additional responsibilities that improves the healthcare delivery in Ghana. In 2020 when ground logistics slowed as a result of the global pandemic, Zipline began distributing medical products at a higher frequency. With COVID-19 fast spreading and the need to contain the spread by limiting the movement of people, aerial logistics became a critical part of the government’s effort to ensure equitable access to medical supplies to remote areas. Recognising the effectiveness of Zipline’s aerial logistics, the Government onboarded the services of zipline to augment the existing logistics delivery efforts. Subsequently, Zipline, collaborating with the Government of Ghana, developed an end-to-end delivery which saw more than 2 million total units of deliveries made, consisting of several components of medical products.

Zipline has, to date, delivered over 2,040,534 products consisting of medical products, blood and vaccines. The breakdown of this includes:

4 million routine vaccines delivered

868-thousand Medical Products

850-thousand Covid-19 doses have been transported by aerial drone to communities hard to reach by road.

6-thousand blood units delivered

5-thousand biological samples

These statistics are a testament of how Zipline’s instant logistics technology has made positive contributions to addressing issues on Universal Healthcare Delivery in Ghana and positioning the country as the world’s first and only national scale logistics delivery service. These numbers also translate into the number of people that have been saved as a result of the prompt and efficient delivery by Zipline. In the area of infrastructure development, since the launch of the first distribution center located in Omenako in the eastern region, in April 2019, several other capital infrastructure investments have been made in various regions to expand service delivery to reach nationwide coverage. An additional five  new distribution centers located in Mpanya, Vobsi, Sefwi-Wiawso Anum and Kete-Krachi have been commissioned to expand service delivery to the last mile. These expansions have bridged the disparity between rural and urban healthcare, with the aerial logistics reaching more than 2500 health facilities in the country. What this means is that more people, especially those in the hard-to-reach communities like Afram Plains, through the government’s partnership with Zipline, are able to access medical care efficiently and effectively, thereby minimizing the over reliance on secondary health facilities  as a result of referrals solely based on the non-availability of medical commodities.

The successes of Zipline in Ghana have today made other countries including Japan, the USA, Nigeria, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire and a lot more also opting to leverage the Zipline system to support the improvement in the universal healthcare delivery system.

These highlights have emphasized the work of zipline in the past three years. For Zipline, the future projection is beyond healthcare in Ghana. With the prospect instant logistics delivery presents, diversification of service to other areas of growth is a future possibility.

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