Zipline operated drones have started making emergency deliveries of blood to transfusing facilities in Rwanda as part of an international partnership between UPS, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and Zipline.
The Rwandan government will start using drones to make up to 150 on-demand, emergency deliveries a day to 21 facilities in the Western half of the country following a ceremony in Muhanga District. The delivery programme will enable blood transfusion clinics to place emergency orders by text message, which Zipline will receive at its Muhanga District distribution centre where it maintains a fleet of 15 drones called Zips.
Zipline chief executive officer, 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 around the world. Zipline will help solve that problem once and for all.”
“We’ve built an instant delivery system for the world, allowing medicine to be delivered on-demand and at low-cost, anywhere.”
Zipline says the Zips can fly up to 150 kilometres on a round trip carrying 1.5 kilogrammes of blood, with the drones taking off and landing at the Nest. The Zips make deliveries by descending close to the ground and air dropping medicine to a designated spot called a ‘mailbox’ near the health centres and can make fulfil orders in around 30 minutes.
The video below shows the Zipline drone in action: