Zipline, a Silicon Valley-based startup company has partnered with the government of Rwanda to deliver blood and medical supplies to hospitals using drones. Zipline will roll out last-mile delivery service to the larger part of rural countrysides of Rwanda where delivery are expensive and slow using conventional means.
“Through a partnership with the Government of Rwanda, Zipline will deliver all blood products for twenty hospitals and health centers starting this summer, improving access to healthcare for millions of Rwandans. Our partnership with Rwanda is just the beginning. Zipline will deliver a wide range of medical products in other countries this year.” – writes Zipline on its website.
The Zipline drone weighs about 10 kilograms and can fly up to 120 kilometers out and back while carrying a load of up to 1.5 kilograms. Zipline says over two billion people lack access to the basic medical products and services, largely due to lack of proper infrastructure to facilitate supply.
About 2.9 million deaths of children under the age of five are attributed to lack of access to medical products and services. Additionally about 150,000 pregnancy-related deaths occur each year, simply because the mother did not have access to safe blood donation services.
Zipline hopes to bridge that infrastructure gap using aerial delivery of essential medical products to the remote and underserved regions in Rwanda. Drones can overcome the challenges presented by poor states of roads, in rural areas.
How Zipline Drone Services Works
A health worker operating from a remote region makes an order via text message for delivery of certain medical product. Within minutes Zipline dispatches a drone carrying the medical product to the remote location of the remote worker. Flying at speeds of up to 100 Km/h, the drone can deliver medical supply in a matter of minutes.
Once the drone has dropped off its cargo, safely at the health worker facility in a space about the size of three packed cars, it flies back to the Zipline base.