Governor Ayade Introduces ‘Digital Drones’ for Medical Supplies To Health Facilities In Cross River

Cross River State has partnered with Zipline to distribute medical supplies across the state using drone delivery. Cross River State will be the first state in Nigeria to use drones to deliver medical products in the South-South region.

Zipline Will Assist in Improving Access to Health Care and Creating an Efficient Delivery System of Over 1,000 Locations Throughout the State. Given the situation of Cross River’s over 430 hard-to-reach populations, this breakthrough will strengthen the health sector and ensure universal access to medical supplies!

The Cross River State has announced a collaboration with Zipline, the world’s first and only national-scale drone delivery service, for on-demand delivery of medical supplies to health facilities throughout the state, including hundreds of vaccines, medicines, and blood products.

Zipline intends to construct two distribution centers in the beginning to help with deliveries to the state’s more than 1,000 health facilities, which serve millions of people. These distribution centers will ensure that medical supplies are delivered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The first distribution center is scheduled to begin construction immediately and be finished within six months of the start date.

This collaboration was made possible by the Governor of Cross River State, H.E. Benedict Ayade, the Honorable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, and other stakeholders’ foresight and collaboration. Together, Zipline and Cross River State hope to greatly change the state’s health-care delivery system and expand access to health care for communities in the state, including those in rural areas.
H.E. Ben Ayade said, “Healthcare is one of our highest priorities, and we are committed to building a functional system in which no one is left behind.” “Zipline is an essential and creative component of our health-care spending. Their delivery service will assist us in removing health-care access barriers and establishing a more equitable and effective health-care system throughout the state.”

“The aim of this collaboration is to eliminate all obstacles to the effective delivery of medical commodities to our people. This is one of the forward-thinking initiatives we’re putting in place to build on the gains we’ve made in the health-care system.”

“This agreement is a significant achievement for us at Cross River State as we improve our health system with a focus on primary health care in order to achieve universal health coverage,” Dr. Edu said. We expect this ground-breaking technology to increase access and even delivery of medical supplies to remote and hard-to-reach areas, which has become even more important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re on a mission to change health care systems around the world, and we’re ecstatic to partner with Cross River State as they invest in innovation to improve the health of their people,” said Daniel Marfo, Zipline’s Senior Vice President of Africa. “Our collaboration will go beyond just delivering medical supplies; we will also train locals to create drones. In the state of Cross River, Zipline will also build a battery factory. By creating a better system, we are reshaping how health systems function, how to best provide care to patients, and can access for all people.”

Zipline will have emergency response capabilities to all health facilities, as well as regular and stockout-response supplies of medications, vaccines, and blood. Zipline will now be the primary provider for certain health facilities in Cross River State’s remote areas, allowing for more effective distribution.

How Does a Zipline Work?
A single Zipline distribution center – a hybrid of a medical fulfillment warehouse and a drone airport – can distribute more than two tons of temperature-controlled medication to any point within an almost 8,000-square-mile service area every week. In high winds and rain, day or night, each aircraft can travel 100 miles round trip to make on-demand deliveries in 30 to 45 minutes on average. Zipline’s drones have flown over 5 million autonomous miles to carry over 1.5 million doses of vaccines, units of blood, and vital and life-saving drugs to over a thousand health facilities serving more than 25 million people across three countries: the United States, Ghana, and Rwanda. When the COVID-19 vaccines are finished, we will use its current and expected storage ability to deliver them to facilities.

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