Rwanda just became the first country in the world to have a national drone delivery service. In a ceremony on October 14, Rwandan President Paul Kagame with a team from a Silicon Valley start-up Zipline launched the first drone outside of it’s capital city Kigali.
The launch was in line with the new drone delivery venture by the Rwanda Health Department and the American tech company. Rwandan President Paul Kagame called the system a “milestone” for Rwanda and Africa and he is right.
The World Health Organization(WHO) reports that between 1.3 to 2.1 billion people lack adequate access to essential medical products and these are mostly concentrated around Africa and India. Because of this, over 5 million children under age five died in year 2015 alone. And up to 150,000 pregnancy-related deaths could be avoided each year if mothers had reliable access to safe blood.
Getting the right medicines to the people who need them at the time they need them remains a major challenge says WHO.
How it Works
A health worker can place an order by text message. Within minutes, a Zip is prepared and launched into the sky. Racing along at 100 km/h, Zip arrives faster than any other mode of transport, no pilot required. The medical products are then dropped off, landing gently and accurately at the health facility in an open area the size of a few parking spaces.One delivery, one life saved. It’s that simple says Zipline.
MTV News reported Zipline’s Justin Hamilton has saying, “Nobody else in the world is doing anything close to what Rwanda is doing, period, and definitely not at this scale.”
One thing we know is that this is a step in the right direction. We hope for more African countries to adopt this not only in healthcare but security surveillance, environmental and animal conservation etc.
WHO: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs348/en/ Zipline: http://flyzipline.com/product/ MTV News: http://www.mtv.com/news/2945787/rwanda-drone-delivery-network/