Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Saturday commissioned Ghana’s third medical drone delivery centre at Vobsi in the West Mamprusi Municipality of the North East Region.
The centre, as characteristic of the ones at Omenako in the Eastern Region and Mpanya in the Ashanti Region, is to improve healthcare delivery, especially, in hard-to-reach areas.
The center would use drones to make on-demand emergency deliveries of vaccines, blood products and life-saving medications to over 500 health facilities in the five regions in the north of Ghana.
The Vice President said the decision of government to adopt the revolutionary service of using drones to deliver on-demand, emergency medical commodities is significantly improving access to basic emergency medical commodities by health facilities across the country.
An elated Dr Bawumia recounted stories he has heard of how the Zipline drone delivery service is saving lots of lives in the hard-to-reach communities in Ghana.
“I was recently informed about one Doctor Issabella Amese, a Medical Superintendent at the Baptist Medical Center, Nalerigu who urgently needed four units of FFP O-units as late as 3:21am to save the life of a woman who was in critical condition. The hospital was in short supply and the only hope for survival was Zipline. Thankfully, Zipline got the necessary clearance from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority to fly this product at that time from this very distribution center [Vobsi] to the Baptist Medical Center. Today, this woman is alive and doing so well.”
Dr Bawumia believes the drone delivery service is boosting the morale of health workers across the country.
“There are lots of stories where our health professionals have openly testified how this single technology has boosted their morale, knowing very well that even in very difficult moments, like shortage of blood products during emergencies, Zipline will be available to deliver just in time.”
The Vice President reiterated government’s commitment to investing in the healthcare delivery system and further tasked the Ministry of Health to ensure that the services of Zipline is expanded to reach all parts of the country by next year so as to ensure that no one is left behind in the provision of basic healthcare needs of Ghanaians.
“It’s important that we speed up this discussion so that we can cover the entire country, especially the hard-to-reach areas, with this service so that we do not leave any community behind.”
A Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, expressed his delight on how Zipline’s drone delivery service is drastically helping reduce referrals that are based on the non-availability of medicines.
He intimated that the reduction of the referrals is freeing many more beds in the referral hospitals and for that matter reducing the no-bed syndrome in those hospitals.
The Deputy Minister also indicated that the significant partner between government and Zipline in the fight against Covid-19 where Zipline delivered Covid-19 samples via medical drones to test centers has placed Ghana as the very first country in the world to use this technology in times of the pandemic.
According to him, the partnership was also very instrumental in speeding up the testing regime thus saved lots of money for districts that were very far from the Covid-19 testing centers.
Dr. Okoe Boye commended Zipline for its effort in organizing regular blood drives within their operational areas to support the National Blood Bank.
On his part, the Managing Director of Zipline Ghana, Daniel Marfo, expressed his appreciation to all partners and donors to the project.
He believes the effort of Zipline is yielding very significant results as the number of requests for deliveries keep rising by the day.
“This technology, no doubt, is saving lots of lives; demand for our services is rising by the day. On our end, we remain committed to our side of the contract by continuing to save lives when it matters the most.”