As the fight against Corona virus continues, a cutting edge delivery company is flying drones to the remote areas in Ghana to deliver thousands of Covid-19 vaccines. Ghana is one of the first countries in the world to deliver Covid-19 vaccines by drone.
The drones, operated by American medical delivery company Zipline, have delivered almost 35,000 doses of the vital jabs. The company aims to deliver 2.5 million doses, primarily covering the country’s rural population.
Ghana’s health ministry partnered with Zipline and logistics firm UPS, to get the vaccines to remote, rural areas that would be difficult and costly to reach by road.
Once doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrive at airports in Ghana, they are transferred to the government’s refrigerated storage centre’s and Zipline receives the vaccines from the Ministry of Health at one of their launch sites.
Zipline works with various rural health facilities to find out how many vaccines are needed that day, then put the vaccines into specialized packaging that prevents it from breaking and keeping them cold. It is crucial for vaccines to travel at the right temperature for the duration of the trip.
Each package can hold up to 2,000 doses at a time. Also, the maximum distance one of the Zipline drone can travel is a total round trip of 160 kilometers, 80 each way with each leg taking a maximum of 55 minutes.
Employees at local health facilities are given a precise time and location for the drop-off and they receive another prompt via SMS or WhatsApp five minutes before. As the drone approaches, it descends 10 metres and drops the package.
According to Zipline drone operator, using drone to target vaccine delivery for specific health centers helps reduce wastage.
So far, Ghana has administered 1.23 million vaccines, while 376,000 people have been fully vaccinated.