Zipline, a California-based automated logistics company has launched in Ghana to use drones to make on-demand, emergency deliveries of 148 high priority products including emergency and routine vaccines, blood products and life-saving medications.
The service will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from four distribution centers—each equipped with 30 drones—and deliver to over 2,000 health facilities serving 12 million people across the country.
Zipline first launched in Rwanda with support from the Government of Rwanda and the UPS Foundation and Gavi. The Government of Ghana is building on that success with expanded Zipline services, supported again by Gavi and the UPS Foundation and joined this time by the Gates Foundation and Pfizer.
The Zipline drone network will be integrated into the national healthcare supply chain in Ghana and will help prevent vaccine stockouts in health facilities as well as during national immunization campaigns.
“The ability of the Government to supplement routine immunization on demand will allow us to make sure that there will always be enough life-saving vaccines for every child in Ghana,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “This is an exciting development for Gavi that is ultimately going to ensure we leave no one behind and help us protect more children living in remote areas against vaccine preventable diseases,” he added.
The UPS Foundation will provide $3 million, including $2.4 million in funding and UPS will provide $600,000 of in-kind shipping services. Separately, UPS has already begun an analysis of Ghana’s healthcare supply chain, providing expertise designed to complement the government’s vision to continually optimize the delivery of healthcare products.
Zipline which began in Rwanda in 2016 has made more than 13,000 deliveries to date. Zipline drones now deliver more than 65% of Rwanda’s blood supply outside of the capital, Kigali.