A California-based automated logistics company is collaborating with the Tanzanian government to launch the world’s largest drone delivery service that will allow remote health facilities to gain access to life-saving medicines.
Beginning in the first quarter of 2018, Zipline will provide and operate more than 100 drones that will make up to 2,000 life-saving deliveries per day to over 1,000 health facilities across Tanzania.
Throughout both the developed and developing world, access to life-saving and critical health products is hampered by what is known as the last-mile problem: the inability to deliver needed medicine from a city to rural or remote locations due to lack of adequate transportation, communication or supply chain infrastructure.
The new drone delivery service is expected to go some way towards resolving this problem.
“We strive to ensure that all 5,640 public health facilities have all the essential medicines, medical supplies and laboratory reagents they need, wherever they are—even in the most the hard to reach areas,” said Laurean Bwanakunu, director general of Tanzania’s Medical Stores Department.
“But that mission can be a challenge during emergencies, times of unexpected demand, bad weather, or for small but critical orders. Using drones for just-in-time deliveries will allow us to provide health facilities with complete access to vital medical products no matter the circumstance.”
Tanzania will make on-demand drone delivery of blood transfusion supplies, emergency vaccines, HIV medications, anti-malarials and critical medical supplies like sutures and IV tubes.
Working in conjunction with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and the country’s Medical Stores Department, Zipline will establish four distribution centres across the country.