The move will see the Rwandan government begin using drones to make up to 150 on-demand, emergency deliveries per day of life-saving blood to 21 transfusing facilities located in the western half of the country. The drones and delivery service are built and operated by Zipline, a California-based robotics company.
While Rwanda’s drone delivery service will initially focus on blood, an international partnership between UPS, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Zipline will help the country quickly expand the types of medicines and lifesaving vaccines that can be delivered.
“Drones are very useful, both commercially and for improving services in the health sector. We are happy to be launching this innovative technology and to continue working with partners to develop it further,” said Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Rwanda’s national drone delivery program enables blood transfusion clinics across the Western half of the country to place emergency orders by cell phone text message.
The work in Rwanda is being further supported by an international partnership between Zipline, UPS and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Thanks to a $1.1 million grant from the UPS Foundation, the partnership will study Rwanda’s blood drone delivery operation with an eye towards helping the country quickly expanding the types of medicines and lifesaving vaccines that can be delivered.
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