The UPS Foundation has given an $800,000 grant to trial drone deliveries of live-saving medicines with robotic company, Zipline, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to be trialled in Rwanda.
The Rwandan government will start using Zipline drones later this year, which can make up to 150 deliveries per day to 21 transfusing facilities located in the Western half of the country. The Rwandan drone network will initially focus on blood supplies but the plan is to expand it for other vaccines including treatments for HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis among others.
Zipline chief executive officer (CEO), Keller Rinaudo says: “The inability to deliver life-saving medicines to the people who need them the most causes millions of preventable deaths each year. The work of this partnership will help solve that problem once and for all.”
“With the expertise and vision of UPS, Gavi and Zipline, instant drone delivery will allow us to save thousands of lives in a way that was never before possible.”
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance CEO, Dr Seth Berkley says: “It is a totally different way of delivering vaccines to remote communities and we are extremely interested to learn if UAVs can provide a safe, effective way to make vaccines available for some of the hardest-to-reach children.”