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Drone to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to Kaduna

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The Kaduna State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the world’s first medical drone delivery service, Ziplane, to convey routine and emergency medicine to the 23 local government areas of the state.

In addition to the distribution of medical supplies, COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed to all parts of the state.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai signed the MoU on behalf of the state while Daniel Marfo, Senior Vice President, Africa – Zipline and Mr Obinna Ukachukwu, Division Head, Health & Education Sterling Bank PLC, signed on behalf of the bank.

The proposed initiative is the first of its kind in the whole of Nigeria.

El-Rufai, who spoke at the MoU signing on Wednesday, said the new service would use drones to make on-demand deliveries of hundreds of different vaccines, blood products, and life-saving medications.

“The service will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from three distribution centres – each equipped with 30 drones – and deliver to more than 1,000 health facilities serving millions of people across Kaduna State.

“Together, all three distribution centres will be capable of micro-targeting the delivery of more than six tons of medical products each week over more than 60,000 square kilometres.

“The revolutionary new service, which is expected to launch operations in the second quarter of 2021, is part of the government of Kaduna State’s bold vision of using drone delivery to establish universal, seven-days-a-week access to lifesaving and critical medicines for most of its more than eight million citizens over the coming years.’

“In addition to expanding access to routine and emergency medical deliveries, the new drone delivery service will also expand access to the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly for rural and hard to reach populations.

“Zipline has built an end-to-end, cold chain distribution capability that allows it to safely deliver frozen and ultra-low COVID-19 vaccines and medical products,” El-Rufai said.

In his remark, the Chief Executive Officer of Zipline, Keller Rinaudo, stressed that location should not limit access to medical consumables.

“That’s why I’m so proud of our partnership with Kaduna State. Our work together will help transform the quality of care for millions and help make Nigeria a world leader in using technology to expand universal healthcare access,” he said.

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