Zipline, the global leader in instant logistics, has commenced commercial deliveries of medical commodities via unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise called drones, to health facilities within Kaduna State. Initial deliveries have been successfully made to Galadimawa HC, Kauru LGA among other facilities.
The health facilities are among several medical centres in Kaduna earmarked to be rolled onto Zipline’s logistics platform for the speedy dispensing of healthcare. The distribution centre, located in Pambegua, Kaduna state, is the first hub to be opened in Nigeria to support the government’s effort to send medical logistics to health facilities within the state.
Speaking after the scheduled delivery of vaccines to the facility, Chongfilawos Irimiya, a medical staff at Galadimawa PHC, said, “We thank God for Zipline. We are in the bush and cut off. We used to go very far to the Apex centres to get our vaccines, which is very stressful and uncomfortable, but with Zipline, all that is in the past”.
Since Zipline commissioned the distribution hub in June 2022, it has been working with the aviation regulatory authority to finalise the required approvals to operate these autonomous aerial vehicles in Kaduna. The successfully completion of the approval processes paved the way for the start of commercial flights.
In February 2021, Zipline announced plans to construct three distribution centres in Kaduna State, Nigeria, supported by the Federal government. The state’s intent is to use Zipline’s service to transport health products, including blood, medication, and routine vaccines. In May 2021, Zipline announced a similar agreement with Cross River State, followed by the announcement of another agreement with Bayelsa State.
In a conversation with the General Manager of Zipline Nigeria, Ms. Catherine N. Odiase, she commended the regulatory authorities for the fruitful engagements leading to the commencement of flight operations, adding that ” the company is pleased to have received the necessary regulatory approval to be able to support the health needs of the community”. She added that “our technology has proven to be a great resource in helping governments achieve access to universal healthcare. By this, we remain committed to ensuring that we support the government of Kaduna in meeting this target by way of efficient delivery of medical commodities and other products as will be agreed, to all parts of the state within 40minutes or less from our distribution hub”. She pledged the readiness of Zipline to continue to “partner with governments to ensure no one in the country is left behind in access to the basic healthcare delivery services”.
Zipline’s drone delivery system is dedicated to expanding access to goods around the globe. Over the years, the company has demonstrated its ability to work with governments and health systems to transform health supply chains to be accessible and work more effectively.
Nigeria is the third African country to use Zipline services, following national-scale operations in Ghana and Rwanda with operations in Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire yet to be launched later this year. In total, the company has made more than 370,897 commercial deliveries containing more than five million units of vaccines and other medical products to facilities in Rwanda, Ghana, Japan and the United States, where it is based.