833 Patients in emergency situations saved
Zipline, the company that specialises in using state-of-the-art drones technology to deliver emergency medical supplies, has so far delivered
Over 20,000 items as at yesterday.
However, from April 2019 that the service commenced operations and end of 2019, it has delivered 15,638 items.
Omenako centre delivered 13,193 items
The Omenako centre, near Suhum in the Eastern Region, has made 13,193 items as at the end of 2019.
Mpanya centre delivered 2,445 items
The centre in Mpanya, in Asante Mampong in the Ashanti Region, which started operations in October 2019, also delivered 2,445 items by the end of 2019.
2,873 Drone flights
The two medical drone distribution centres launched 2,873 drone flights that carried 15,638 items since each drone flight carries more than one item.
Omenako centre launched 2,453 drone flights
Data compiled by Zipline showed that the Omenako centre launched 2,453 drone lights as at the end of 2019.
Mpanya centre launched 420 drone flights
However, the centre in Mpanya, which started operations in October 2019, launched 420 drone flights as at the end of the year.
416 Pints of blood delivered to eight hospitals
The Omenako centre has delivered 416 pints of blood to eight hospitals that it serves.
833 Patients in emergency situations saved
According to the data, 833 patients in emergency situations but whose health facilities did not have the medical supply needed to save their lives received emergency deliveries to save them from death.
2,040 Product Emergency deliveries made
Zipline’s data also showed that 2,040 Product Emergency deliveries were made during the period.
Omenako centre serving 328 health facilities
As at December 31, 2019, a total of 128 health facilities were receiving products from Omenako centre and an additional 200 has just been added, making it 328 health facilities.
Mpanya centre serving 70 health facilities
A total of 70 health facilities were being served from the Mpanya site as at December 31, 2019.
An additional 100 health facilities are currently being activated and will be completed by end of January, the company said.
Zipline said by end of first quarter 2020, it expects to have most of the targeted facilities on board.
4th drone centre ready
It announced that the third distribution site is completed with test flights ongoing. The company added that the fourth distribution site is expected to be ready by April 2020.
Daniel Marfo, General Manager of Zipline, told The Finder that one of the beautiful things that this project has done is that in the past, “if you were at a health facility and you needed something urgently, the patient would have had to travel a very long distance to the nearest health centre, and if he/she couldn’t get it there, or probably travel to the regional hospital to get it”.
“But with this service, what happens is if you need something and you can’t get it when you get to the point, it can easily be delivered to you so that it doesn’t inconvenience the patient”.
He explained that the biggest impact for Zipline is that the drone deliveries eliminate the anxiety patients go through when told that the product needed to treatment was not available.
“They’re there, they wait, and they’re taken care of. The health facility and the people who work there have peace of mind, because in the past, they might have sent someone to go and get these items, which might have been fruitful or fruitless.
“But with this, they place requests for the product and it flies. It gets there within 10 minutes to about 50 minutes, depending on the distance, and they’re all happy.
“So, I’ll say the biggest impact has been in making the lives of the healthcare practitioners and the patients easy in the areas that we serve,” he added.
Mr Marfo said since Zipline started till date, it has delivered over 20,000 health commodities to over 300 facilities within the distribution centres where it serves.
Zipline was able to deliver over 15,000 health commodities since it started from April to the end of last year.
However, he stated that in just January 2020, the drones have already delivered over 5,000 health commodities, saying, “So we’ve done about 30% of the work we did in 2019 already just in the first three weeks of this week”.
The General Manager of Zipline explained that with every new technology, and in fact with anything, one always has to aim at improving; otherwise, very soon people will be dissatisfied.
“So what we’ve actually done is when we started we had a type of drone we called ‘the robin’. A few weeks back we launched our new drone called ‘The Sparrow’, which is more stable, more reliable, can fly farther, can fly safer than our existing drones so that is what we have actually brought in.
“And our third distribution centre, which we will be launching in a few weeks in the town of Vopsi, will be flying just the new type of drone,” he added.
Mr Marfo said the company has also been able to improve the understanding of the various health facilities on how they use this service.
According to him, the uptake was a bit hard in the initial stages, which is normal with any new technology.
Now, he said the various health facilities now understand the use cases, and have also understood the role that aerial logistics plays in the healthcare supply chain.
Proper policy frameworks
He announced another big add-on which involves working with the Ministry of Health and partner agencies to come up with proper policy frameworks on how the service should be used such that it is not abused but is used in the right way that serves as a complement to the work being done.
How it works
Medical products are stored centrally at Zipline’s distribution centres and are flown quickly to the destination.
This maintains cold-chain and the integrity of products while eliminating waste.
Mode of making request
Hospitals place orders on-demand through an app, phone call, WhatsApp or text message with name of the doctor making the request and the health facility where they need it.
Package prepared in 5 minutes
Zipline staff prepare the package, place it in the drone and put the drone on the launcher, which is then launched. All these are completed within five minutes.
Average of 30-minute delivery time
The drone moves from a speed of zero to 100 kilometres per hour in a matter of seconds and arrives at the hospital in averagely 30 minutes.
Dropping package by parachuteWhen the drone arrives at the hospital, it drops the package by parachute, and the package is retrieved by a medical staff, who sends it to the ward for testing and use.
Drones return to Zipline distribution centre
The drones return to Zipline distribution centre, where operators quickly prepare them for their next flight.
Source: Elvis DARKO, thefinderonline.com