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Drones for medical deliveries agreement with Zipline approved by Parliament

BY: Jasmine Arku

The service agreement between Fly Zipline Ghana Limited and the government of Ghana to enable the use of drones to distribute essential medicines to remote areas in Ghana has been approved by Parliament.

The agreement was approved on Tuesday by a majority decision with 102 legislators voting for the policy while 58 opposedit.

The parent company of Zipline in California, which is an automated logistics company, helped the launch of the world’s first national drone delivery service in Rwanda in October 2016.

Per the terms of the agreement with the government of Ghana, Zipline will install, operate and maintain the drones.

Although the Minority in Parliament raised concerns over the cost of the project, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Anthony Nsiah Asare, disputed the figures saying the service would come at a zero cost to government.

According to him, the cost of the service will be borne by the corporate sector through their corporate social responsibility obligations.

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Terms of agreement

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The contract will run for four years and $88,000 will be used per a distribution centre per month when fully deployed.

Zipline is also guaranteeing an average emergency delivery time of less than an hour and at least 150 flights daily.

The drones will operate 24 hrs a day from 4 distribution centres across the country. The distribution centres will stock 184 lifesaving and essential medical supplies including:

Emergency blood and oxytocin to save women's lives in childbirth. Postpartum haemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal death.

Emergency medicines for surgeries, severe infections, antivenins and anti-rabies, diabetic emergencies, extremely high blood pressure emergencies.

Zipline is also expected to employ 200+ Ghanaians, including pharmacists, engineers, flight operations, and many more essential and allied support staff.

Zipline will build a training centre in Ghana to support all of Zipline’s Anglophone West African operations.