Ghana is following in the footsteps of Rwanda, which was the first country in the world to do blood deliveries for medical purposes via drones. Now the government of Ghana through parliament has approved a project that will see blood among other medical supplies supplied via drones.
“Everybody everywhere should have quality care and Ghanaians are going to use drones to deliver drugs and services,” said Nsiah Asare, the Director General of Ghanaian government’s Health Service. “We believe that it is the most effecient, effective, and cheapest way to deliver to the remotest and underserved areas in the country.”
Though the project was approved by parliament, it did face a lot of skepticism, but aftr much discussion and scrutiny it got the green light. The project will be run by Zipline, the same U.S.-company that is also handling the Rwanda’s drone medical delivery services.
The process is more or less like that running in Rwanda. The health center simply sends a request for supplies through SMS, the supplies are then packed and loaded onto a drone. Within 30-45 minutes, the supplies should have been dropped at the pickup location designated by the health center.
“If a person comes in and needs blood at 1 AM, the hospital has two options. It they do not have blood in stock, they can order blood and hope that it gets there in time. The other option is that they can refer them to another facility,” said Daniel Marfo, the person in charge of the Zipline Ghana operations.
Timely medical supplies delivery can make a big difference, especially in an emergency situation. Zipline has over the course of the past eight years been laying the foundation of medical supplies delivery service via drones. They have been studying the health care service delivery landscape and looking in ways their drone service could make the industry more efficient.
One of the skeptical members of parliament, Inusah Abdulai Fuseini, a minority speaker in the house said, “you can’t even assemble an array of ambulances to meet the health needs of our people, you are talking about drones.”