GHANA has become the first country in the world to use drones to deliver vaccines to rural communities.
According to a Friday report by Business Insider, drone delivery service Zipline started delivering the shots on March 2 as part of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) first shipment of vaccines through Covax, which aims to provide poorer countries with enough doses to cover 20 percent of their population.
Covax is the global initiative aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines led by Gavi – the Vaccine Alliance, the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and other organisations.
On February 24, the WHO announced that 600,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca doses had arrived in the West African country’s capital of Accra.
According to Business Insider, Zipline, a San Francisco start-up, has been delivering medical supplies, including blood, personal protective equipment (PPE) and vaccines since 2016 using patented autonomous drones.
According to the website Commercial Drone Professional, nearly half of Ghana’s population lives outside cities, and those 12 million people are difficult to reach with time-limited, cold-chain-dependent vaccines.
Zipline CEO and co-founder Keller Rinaudo said in a statement that they were proud to be part of this significant milestone in Ghana where their drone logistics network can provide delivery of Covid-19 vaccines at scale across the country.