Rural health centers and hospitals are receiving crucial COVID-19 supplies in some bizarre manners by different companies, organizations, and people. In the US, a young teen is flying is his own plane between hospitals and in Africa we are seeing the tech company Zipline delivering supplies using autonomous drones to rural health centers in Ghana and Rwanda.
Zipline has modified its drones to carry the required supplies over hundreds of kilometers in only minutes to and from the hospitals. By flying the supplies from point A to point B, Zipline is managing to save a lot of time while greatly reducing the direct human interaction that would have been required otherwise.
Zipline began its operations in 2016 and was delivering blood to 21 hospitals in Rwanda. As of now, it is supplying more than 160 different kinds of medical supplies and has contracts in place with over 2,500 hospitals and health facilities in Rwanda and Ghana. Zipline has been successful in keeping up with the delivery of crucial medical supplies to the hospitals without suffering any hurdles.
Doctors have to input their requests and orders by making use of Zipline’s app. They are then able to monitor the shipments using the same app. The flight of each drone is completely autonomous and can be monitored from the distribution center. The drones are able to take flight within seven minutes of receiving an order and can make the delivery in 15-30 minutes.
Zipline’s CEO Keller Renaudo said, ‘We’ve actually been able to see a spike in certain hospitals instantaneously where outbreaks are occurring. So having a responsible logistics system doesn’t just mean you can respond to an outbreak faster. It also means you can actually spot an outbreak faster. We operate in crazy weather every single day. So we fly through the insane wind, insane rain, insane dust storms in order to reach a patient whose life is depending on us.’