Drones deliver medical supplies faster than humans in Rwanda, saves lives

Drones deliver medical supplies faster than humans in Rwanda, saves lives

Drones deliver medical supplies faster than humans in Rwanda, saves lives
Drones deliver medical supplies faster than humans in Rwanda, saves lives

Drone deliveries are now taking place every day in Rwanda, southern Africa, following a deal between the Rwandan government and drones company, Zipline International.

The company is using its drone fleet to transport blood, medicine and supplies in southern Africa. This has apparently reduced the delivery time of blood and medicine from four hours to as little as 15 minutes, according to Rwandan officials. The project has received funding and operational support from U.S. shipping company, United Parcel Service, while Bill & Melinda Gates’ organization, Gavi – which provides vaccines to the world’s poorest countries – is also a partner.

Drones could save lives

The World Health Organization (WHO) says Africa has the world’s highest rate of pregnancy deaths resulting from bleeding, so the need for blood and transfusions for women all over Africa is vast. Drone deliveries could therefore be the difference between life and death, in some cases.

Zipline delivery sites, Rwanda
Zipline delivery sites, Rwanda

The Rwandan government signed the deal to cooperate with U.S.-based Zipline International so it could begin flying its drones to 20 remote medical centers across the country.

The process begins with a doctor requesting blood or medicine by telephone or a text message, according to VOA News. Someone then puts the supplies into a special box, which is loaded onto a drone.

The drone is then launched and flies by itself at roughly 100 kilometers per hour to the medical center. The supplies are dropped from the air and float to the ground in a parachute. Zipline claims its drones can complete hundreds of these deliveries per day, all from one single air base.

Increasing competition

American company, Vayu, has also completed drone flights in Madagascar, along Africa’s eastern coast. The company, is flying blood and laboratory materials from rural villages to a research station for testing.

The project receives funding from Madagascar’s government and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The research station is a project of the U.S.-based Stony Brook University, in Stony Brook, New York. University officials say the drones help doctors speed up the identification of disease in patients and make quick deliveries of vaccines.