Drones deliver on-demand medicines

16 August 2019

Ghana is the latest African country to adopt drones for the delivery of urgent medicine, blood and vaccines to patients, following success of the technology in rural Rwanda.

The technology has been deployed as part of the ‘Fly to Save a Life’ project, managed by US-based medical product delivery company Zipline. The project has provided a lifeline to almost 12m people in remote districts of the country where trucks and trains may struggle to reach.

‘No one in Ghana should die because he or she could not access the medicine needed in an emergency situation,’ said Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia when launching the project in April 2019.

The service increases access to medicine whilst eliminating waste. Doctors place orders for supplies as and when they need them through a simple app. The centrally-stored medicine is then flown quickly (over 100 km/h) to any destination via the battery-powered drones, which make 500 delivery flights every day.

The drones are capable of flying over remote mountains, rivers, and washed-out roads. No local infrastructure is required to serve communities. The medical supplies are then delivered from the sky by parachute without any need to interact with the drone.

For further details visit this month’s issue of Chemistry and Industry.

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