It was all joy at the Rural Hospital at Kauru within Kaduna State when Zipline made what has become the very first drone delivery of blood to a health facility in Nigeria.

Staff of Zipline at the Pambegua Zipline distribution center had received an emergency request for a whole blood to help save one of the patients that had been rushed to the hospital mid-afternoon of June 6. Fortunately, Zipline had taken delivery of some processed blood products, for the first time, from a recent blood drive they have embarked on as part of their corporate social responsibility, so they were able to fulfill the order.

Zipline, since August 2022, has been delivering medical products to several health facilities within Kaduna State as part of their partnership with the Kaduna government. Health officials say the timely delivery of these products have largely improved healthcare delivery as cases of referral of patients on the ground of non-availability of medicines have largely reduced.

General Manager of Zipline, Ms Catherine N. Odiase, said the company is committed to ensuring that all patients, no matter their locations, are reached timely with the essential medicines when they need them the most. “We have been very deliberate in ensuring that we are able to reach as many health facilities as possible that need our services. Even though we had commenced delivery of medicines in three states in Nigeria, this has been our very first delivery of blood. We embarked on a blood drive that yielded 30-units, some of which have been processed and delivered to our distribution center for emergency deliveries to health facilities”, she said.

Dr Sarah Ibrahim, a Medical Director at the Kauru Rural Hospital in Kaduna, expressed her gratitude for the timely delivery, stating, “we have witnessed an important moment that showcases the immense power of technology in advancing healthcare. Zipline’s successful drone delivery of blood to our hospital not only saved precious time but also highlighted the transformative potential of innovative solutions. The significance of this moment fills us with hope and excitement for the future of healthcare, as we eagerly anticipate the positive impact it will have on our community and beyond.”

The innovative delivery model of Zipline highlights the capacity in addressing healthcare gaps across the country. Nigeria’s vast geographic areas and large population have posed challenges in providing timely access to medical supplies to remote communities. This, Zipline aims to address by ensuring that critical supplies reach those in need, regardless of their location.

Zipline’s drone delivery service has revolutionized medical supply transportation in several countries, including Rwanda and Ghana, overcoming traditional challenges such as limited storage facilities, transportation options, unpredictable weather conditions, and long distances. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, the autonomous drones can navigate challenging terrains, adverse weather conditions, and congested urban areas. With a range of up to 160 kilometers and a cargo capacity of 1.8 kilograms, the drones can efficiently transport life-saving medical products, including blood, vaccines, and essential medications.

Kwasu Kanchok, the Community Lead of Zipline in Kaduna State, expressed his excitement about the milestone, stating, “The historic blood delivery by Zipline in Nigeria serves as a testament to the power of innovation in transforming healthcare systems. With each successful delivery, lives are saved, and communities gain access to critical medical supplies. This milestone paves the way for a future where drones play a vital role in addressing healthcare challenges and ensuring that no one is left behind”.

Zipline currently has operations in Kaduna, Bayelsa and Cross River States. The company has delivered a total of 800,000 (Eight Hundred Thousand) Doses of vaccines for routine immunization, 1,500,000(One million Five Hundred Thousand) units of Essential medicines from the Pambegua distribution center (Kaduna) since August 2022.

Zipline has set a precedent for pioneering advancements that not only improve access to critical medical supplies but also pave the way for an inclusive and advanced healthcare landscape.


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