The Zipline Drone technology used for the quick transport and delivery of emergency medical supplies or products to designated “drop points” at health facilities across Ghana, is set to commence its delivery flights in the Upper East and North-East Regions in the next few weeks.
A Community Lead officer in charge of the Zipline base located in Vobsi, a suburb of Walewale in the West Mamprusi District of the North-East Region, Mr. Simon Batamya Aseno who disclosed this to journalists on Friday stated that, just a few touches were outstanding and that by end of February, 2020, the base would become fully operational.
It would be recalled that Ghana’s Vice President, H.E. Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia did the official launch of the Zipline drone delivery technology on 24th April, 2019 and after which some test-runs have been done and an implementation, currently ongoing in parts of the country with some positive tales to tell.
Mr. Aseno added that per Zipline flight operational code, the drones were permitted to fly routes of up to 80 kilometres long from their base in Vobsi, code-named GH-3 and would therefore be able to do deliveries to several places within the Bawku Municipality, Garu areas, Navrongo and its environs as well as to communities in the two Builsa Districts and other parts of the Upper East. A wide area of communities would also be covered in the North-East Region.
According to the Zipline officer, some 148 emergency medical products make up the delivery package of Zipline. Of the number, 13 of them fell into the blood category, 60 to 70 products made up the essential medicines list whilst children’s vaccines comprised 10 products. Meanwhile, some 30 to 40 products make the classification known as the Programme Commodities.
The Community Lead Officer also revealed that at full operational capacity, Zipline would cover between 14 and 16 million people needing such emergency health products across Ghana and service up to 2,000 health facilities nationwide. Zipline officials are estimated to conduct up to 600 minimum flights per day at full capacity implying, they could be doing more depending on the requests coming in.
Officials of Zipline appealed to the media to help educate and sensitise the public about their intervention in the country’s health sector as several of these delivery drones would very soon be flying over houses and communities such that unnecessary panic is not created. The company in itself hinted of an elaborate public sensitization plan to use information vans, community durbars and radio interviews to reach out to the public to assist in the discharge of its mandate to improve timely and quality health service delivery across Ghana.
The journalists earlier had an engagement with a Zipline team in Bolgatanga regarding the rationale behind the intervention and what it actually entailed as far as its scope of works was concerned. It was after this session that, they were driven to Vobsi near Walewale to tour the base office of Zipline and how its flights and product packaging was done and transported.