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Zipline begins drone deliveries to health facilities in Kaduna State

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Nigeria: Zipline, Kaduna State begin drone deliveries to health facilities | credit: africaentertainment

Zipline, the global leader in instant logistics, today completed the first drone deliveries in Nigeria’s Kaduna State.

These initial flights mark the final stage of integration with the local health systems and validation with the regulatory authorities.

Zipline and the Kaduna State Government expect to deliver medical supplies to hundreds of health facilities to help create a more agile, responsive and accessible health system, subject to final regulatory approval.

“Zipline has a proven track record of health system transformation,” said Kaduna State Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai.

“Today, we’re making our first flights to pave the way toward bringing this proven service to Kaduna State. We are proud to be the very first state in Nigeria to adopt this innovative supply chain to support our efforts in healthcare delivery. Zipline’s system is a powerful next step in Kaduna State’s ongoing efforts to create a smarter, stronger health system that better serves everyone in our state.”

Zipline will operate three distribution centres across the state, covering an area of 46,000 square kilometres and delivering to approximately 500 health facilities serving millions of people. The company will begin by delivering more than 200 different medical products, including medicines and routine vaccines, with plans to expand to more soon. Zipline will bring its proven COVID-19 vaccine distribution model to Nigeria. The company and its partners pioneered this model with the Government of Ghana; to date, they have successfully delivered more than 1.2 million COVID-19 vaccines across the country.

“Zipline has a proven track record of health system transformation,” said Kaduna State Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai.

“Investment in the supply chain makes health systems more efficient, effective and equitable,” said Amina Mohammed Baloni, Health Commissioner of Kaduna State. “Today’s flights are an important step toward ensuring people across Kaduna State have access to the care they need, precisely when and where they need it to drive better health outcomes and foster healthier communities.”

Today marks Zipline’s first deliveries in Nigeria, home to both the largest economy and population on the continent.

Its operation will begin with test flights delivering medical supplies to health facilities as part of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s final approval process. Regular commercial operations in Kaduna State are expected to begin later this month, and the company has also signed agreements with a number of other states that it plans to launch later this year.

“Instant logistics enables governments and health systems to optimize their supply chains and reimagine how care is delivered,” said Daniel Marfo, Senior Vice President of Africa at Zipline.

“Today’s flights mark one more step toward unlocking these benefits for millions more people, and bringing us one step closer to effective, agile systems that better serve all people.”

“Zipline has a proven track record of health system transformation,” said Kaduna State Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai.

Zipline has a demonstrated track record of working with governments and health systems to transform health supply chains to be more efficient, accessible and sustainable.

A recent independent study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, showed Zipline’s instant logistics system has significantly increased the availability, reliability and range of inventory at health facilities in Ghana by addressing supply chain challenges.

“With more than 315,000 commercial deliveries worldwide, Zipline has built an impressive record of safe, reliable, impactful service,” said Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and former President of ICAO Council. “Soon, the company is expected to bring this game changing service to millions more people, and bring us one step closer to a world where anyone can get whatever they need, whenever and wherever they need it.”

Today’s flights were made possible through Zipline and Kaduna State’s collaboration with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency and the International Civil Aviation Organization. Nigeria marks Zipline’s third country of operation in Africa following national-scale operations in Ghana and Rwanda, and its fifth globally.

About Zipline

Zipline is the global instant logistics leader. Our purpose is to inspire possibility, transform systems and serve all people equally.

We design, manufacture and operate the world’s largest automated on-demand delivery service, which to date has made more than 315,000 commercial deliveries containing more than five million units of vaccines and other medical products, reducing delivery emissions up to 98 percent compared to traditional methods.

Zipline is the trusted partner for governments, global brands and leading health care systems. For more information, visit flyzipline.com.

ABOUT THE NEW SERVICE

The revolutionary new service is part of the Government of Kaduna State’s bold vision of using instant aerial logistics to establish universal, seven-days-a-week access to lifesaving and critical medicines for most of its citizens over the coming years. Zipline drones will make on-demand and emergency deliveries of blood products, vaccines, and life-saving medications. 

The Government of Kaduna State’s vision is for Zipline to establish three  distribution centres, which are capable of covering most parts of the state. The government’s goal is to put almost all of its citizens within minutes of a lifesaving medical delivery by drone.

THE PROBLEM

Throughout the world, access to life-saving and critical health products for billions of people is hampered by the last-mile problem: the inability to deliver needed medicines and vaccines due to lack of adequate transportation, communication, or supply chain infrastructure. Too often this results in unequal access to healthcare and healthcare outcomes, avoidable stockouts, and costly product waste across healthcare systems.

A NEW SOLUTION

To increase access and reduce medical waste, key stock of blood products, vaccines and life-saving medications will be stored at Zipline’s distribution centres for just-in-time delivery. Health workers will place orders by text message or call and promptly receive their deliveries exactly when and where they need them in 30 minutes on average.

The drones both take off from and land at Zipline’s distribution hub, requiring no additional infrastructure or manpower at the clinics they serve. The drones fly autonomously and can carry 1.8 kilos of cargo, cruising at 110 kilometres an hour, and have a round trip range of 160 kilometres – even in high speed winds and rain.

Deliveries are made from the sky, with the drone descending to a safe height above the ground and releasing a box of medicine by parachute to a designated spot at the health centres it serves.

HOW ZIPLINE WORKS

Each week, a single Zipline distribution centre – a combination of medical fulfilment warehouse and drone airport – is capable of the microtargeted delivery of more than two tons of temperature-controlled medicine to any point across an almost 20,000 square km service area.

Each aircraft can fly 160 km round trip, in strong winds and rain, day or night, to make on-demand deliveries in 30 minutes on average. Zipline’s drones have flown  18 million autonomous miles to deliver millions of doses of vaccines, units of blood, and critical and life-saving medications to thousands of health facilities serving more than 25 million people across three countries.

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