UPS Foundation, which leads the global citizenship programs for UPS, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, are to support the expansion of a medical drone network in Ghana with California-based automated logistics company Zipline to provide on-demand emergency deliveries of medical supplies.
Zipline will use drones to deliver 148 high priority products, including emergency and routine vaccines, blood products and life-saving medications.
The service will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from four distribution centres. Each centre will have 30 drones and deliver to over 2,000 health facilities, serving 12 million people across the country.
Zipline’s hardware and software systems in the distribution centres will manage logistics and deliveries will take place at hospitals and health clinics
The UPS Foundation will provide $2.4 million in funding and UPS will provide $600,000 of in-kind shipping services. UPS has also begun analysing Ghana’s healthcare supply chain to provide expertise designed to complement the government’s vision to continually optimise the delivery of healthcare products.
The Government of Ghana is building on the partnership established in 2016 between the Government of Rwanda and Zipline which delivered blood products to hard-to-reach clinics in Rwanda using drones.
The expanded Zipline drone services, supported by Gavi and the UPS Foundation, and joined by Gates Foundation and Pfizer, will be integrated into the national healthcare supply chain in Ghana and will help prevent vaccine stockouts in health facilities as well as during national immunisation campaigns.
“The program’s ongoing success in Rwanda demonstrates that the collective effort of a public-private partnership focused on advanced supply chain technologies can enhance access to life-saving medical commodities throughout Africa,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation and UPS chief diversity and inclusion officer. “We are inspired to see technology and supply chain expertise used to help save lives and honoured to be part of this public-private collaboration.”