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Zipline launches Drone Medical Supplies Delivery in Kisumu, Kenya

by Felix Omondi
Blood Delivery To Hospital Service Via Drones Goes Live In Rwanda

Image Credit: File Photo

Drones, and their applications have become something to behold these days. Some of its applications are as scary as they are bewildering. Take, for instance, the Ukraine military has ingeniously deployed drones to slow down (and in some instances, stop dead in their tracks) the Russian military invasion of their country.

That would be the scary bit, won’t it? A miniature unmanned aircraft that is lethal enough to be fashioned into a military-grade killing machine.

Drones Saving Lives in Africa

Zipline – a Silicon-valley based tech startup – has over the past years been using drones, not to kill lives, but to save lives. As we first featured in 2016, Zipline has been customizing drones into miniature unmanned cargo aircraft to quickly deliver critical medical supplies over the air across Rwanda.

They later expanded into Tanzania sometime in 2017 and earlier this week launched their operations in Western Kenya.

Drones delivering Critical Medical Supplies

Through a partnership with the Lake Region Economic Block (LREB), Zipline has launched its medical supplies drone delivery services in Kisumu county.zipline

The official launch event was graced by the county governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, who was quoted by a section of the media saying:

“This drone technology will reduce time wastage in health product supply via road and reduce the delay in accessing life-saving interventions.

Expectant women and other sick persons will no longer have to be referred to other facilities solely because of the non-availability of medicines and other health products, especially those needed in emergency situations.”

Air Transport is always faster than both land and water transport. However, it is often the most expensive mode of transport going by conventional aviation standards. Drones are a disruptive innovation within that space that not only lowers the cost of air transport but makes the services (albeit scaled down) available in underserved communities.

For instance, a city like Kisumu is not as well served in terms of public amenities and infrastructure as cities in developed countries. Shipment of critical medical supplies in developed countries can be done faster and inexpensively compared to an underserved city like Kisumu.

Drone innovation makes it possible to deliver critical medical supplies in under-served communities, such as those across Kisumu, in a fast and inexpensive way. Thereby making critical medical services all that much available in even far-flung corners of Kisumu county.

Hospitals and other medical centers across Kisumu county can now order medical supplies and have them delivered quickly. Additionally, patients will not have to be referred to well-established hospitals when they visit their locally-available medical centers because of lack of drugs.

The governor added: “They just need to request them, and they are delivered in a few minutes. This is a giant step in our collective effort in improving healthcare delivery within the County.”


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