- Nigerian governments at all levels can now aspire to transform their respective health systems with instant delivery of medical supplies
- Many states in Nigeria are vastly exposed to emergency room situations and medical emergencies due to the lack of effective supplies
- An initiative to service all hard to reach medical facilities with ease in Nigeria will soon be launched
Accra - Nigerian pharmacist Samuel Timothy Noma is currently in Omenako in the Eastern Region of Ghana, interning at a facility operated by Zipline.
Zipline is the world’s only last-mile aerial logistics company delivering medical commodities on a national scale, every day.
In February 2021, Zipline signed a Memorandum of Understanding on drone delivery of medical aids, comprising vaccines, blood, and other lifesaving products with the Kaduna state government.
The facility is expected to be commissioned by September 2021.
Noma, 37, is in neighbouring Ghana as an intern learning how to process quick delivery of emergency products, provide timely stock-gap resupplies and respond to disasters from health workers in hard-to-reach areas.
He told Nigerian journalists on a visit to the facility on Saturday, Friday, August 6:
“I am presently here working with Zipline. I am part of the team that will set up the first facility in Kaduna.
“It is really a privilege for me to be here. For me, this is so dear to me because Kaduna is my place, that's where I have been and schooled. So, we really understand the context in which Zipline is coming to deliver there in Kaduna.”
Accelerating Nigeria’s health systems transformation with autonomous, instant delivery
In September 2019, Nigeria's minister of health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, solicited the support of the World Bank in establishing an effective medical emergency transportation network in rural communities.
Ehanire said the initiative would help in addressing the challenges of medical emergencies in Nigeria.
The minister made the demand when he received a World Bank team in his office at the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
While the minister is pushing for an emergency response outfit to tackle emergency cases towards curbing preventable deaths, Zipline is already providing instant access to vital medical supplies for rural dwellers in Ghana and Rwanda, where its operations are already a success.
Noma shares his experience working in a Zipline facility:
“For Zipline, one of the benefits is medical emergencies when you have incidences where people don't have access to medicines. I have been here and I have seen instances where people will call over a long period of time saying there is an incidence of postpartum hemorrhage.
“The nearest point for her to access medicine is about two hours drive from there. While you can deliver to that place using a drone. I, personally, have been able to attend to such a case.”
How Zipline provides an end-to-end solution in the medical sector
Daniel Marfo, the Senior Vice President of Zipline, on Thursday, August 5 assured visiting Nigerian journalists in Accra, that Zipline would transform access and availability of routine and emergency medicine for Nigerians in the state.
“The new solution is to increase access and reduce medical waste, key stock of blood products, vaccines, and life-saving medications. All these will be stored at Zipline’s distribution centres for just-in-time delivery.
“Health workers will place orders by text message or call, and promptly receive their deliveries in 30 minutes on average.
“The drones both take off from and land at Zipline’s distribution centres, requiring no additional infrastructure or manpower at the clinics they serve.
“The drones fly autonomously and can carry 1.8kg of cargo, cruising at 110km an hour, and have a round trip range of 160km, even in high-speed winds and rain.”
He added that the service would operate 24 hours daily, seven days a week, from three distribution centres with each equipped with 30 drones and deliver to more than one thousand health facilities, serving millions of people across Kaduna state.
He said that the company also planned to invest in local content development by employing and training people from Kaduna to work with the company.
According to him, all the three distribution centres would be capable of micro-targeting the delivery of more than six tons of medical products each week over more than 60,000sq kilometres.
He revealed that Zipline was duly registered with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority and the federal ministry of health.
Marfo also assured that the organisation maintains high degree of safety culture, adding that they are also in talks with other states in Nigeria and some Africa countries to sign-up for the initiative.
For Noma, who is daily contributing his quota to saving lives in Ghana, he can't wait for the initiative to kick off in his home state of Kaduna.
“Looking at the Kaduna context, you cannot but imagine, how many people, down in the rural areas where it is difficult to ply using motorbikes, to reach them will benefit. I believe this will be quite impactful because there is no cost to human life.
“Whatsoever it will cost for people to have access to medicine, is the best that can happen to them.”
Legit.ng had reported about the partnership entered into by the Kaduna state government and Zipline in February 2021.
An excited Governor Nasir El-Rufai said during the announcement:
“The agreement with Zipline builds on and adds value to our initiatives to strengthen the capacity of the Kaduna state health system.
“This new emergency drone delivery service is a great solution to deliver vaccines, blood, and other lifesaving products instantly when time is of the essence. It will help ensure that millions of people in Kaduna state will always get the care they need.”
Similarly, in May 2021, the Cross River state government and Zipline announced a partnership.
The governor of the state, Professor Ben Ayade said:
“The focus of this partnership is to ensure that all barriers hindering the successful delivery of medical commodities to our people are removed.
“This is one of the many forward-thinking interventions we are implementing to consolidate the gains we have made within the health care system.”
Source: Legit Newspaper