Omenako, Ghana, 24 April 2019 – Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance today announced support for the expansion of a medical drone network into Ghana. Zipline, a California-based automated logistics company, will use drones to make on-demand, emergency deliveries of high priority products including emergency and routine vaccines and other health products.
“The ability of the government to supplement routine immunisation on demand will allow us to make sure that there will always be enough life-saving vaccines for every child in Ghana,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “This is an exciting development for Gavi that is ultimately going to ensure we leave no one behind and help us protect more children living in remote areas against vaccine-preventable diseases,” he added.
“Through our partnership with Gavi, UK aid is helping Ghana to launch the world’s largest drone delivery service providing life-saving vaccines to millions of children and giving them access to the essential healthcare they deserve,” said Penny Mordaunt, UK International Development Secretary. “Immunisation is a crucial part of all our lives and no child should suffer at the hands of a vaccine-preventable disease. This cutting-edge technology will make sure vital medical supplies reach those who need it most.”
The service will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week from four distribution centres - each equipped with 30 drones - and deliver to over 2,000 health facilities serving 12 million people across the country.
The Zipline drone network 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. Logistics will be managed through Zipline’s hardware and software systems in each of the distribution centres, and deliveries will take place at hospitals and health clinics. UPS will provide technical guidance and consultancy services as needed, in consultation with Gavi and collaboratively with Zipline.
The Government of Ghana is building on the success of the partnership between the Government of Rwanda and Zipline, facilitated by Gavi and supported by philanthropic grants and in-kind support from The UPS Foundation, which pioneered just-in-time drone delivery of blood products to hard-to-reach clinics in Rwanda.
The programme, which began in Rwanda in 2016, enabled access to life-saving medical supplies in minutes rather than hours for millions of Rwandan citizens in remote communities. The Government of Rwanda has since expanded the program across the country, making more than 13,000 deliveries to date. Zipline drones now deliver more than 65% of Rwanda’s blood supply outside of the capital, Kigali.
Notes to editors
About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a whole generation – over 760 million children – and prevented more than 13 million deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 developing countries. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningitis and yellow fever vaccines. After two decades of progress, Gavi is now focused on protecting the next generation and reaching the unvaccinated children still being left behind, employing innovative finance and the latest technology – from drones to biometrics – to save millions more lives, prevent outbreaks before they can spread and help countries on the road to self-sufficiency. Learn more at www.gavi.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. View the full list of donor governments and other leading organizations that fund Gavi’s work here.