UPS Foundation and others set to launch $3 million vaccine drone network in Ghana

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Through the support of the UPS Foundation, Gavi, and other partners, Ghana will soon inaugurate drones that would make on-demand, emergency deliveries of 148 high priority products, including emergency and routine vaccines, blood products and life-saving medications.

The aim of the project is to expand a medical drone network, to serve about 2,000 health facilities and 12 million people in Ghana.

The UPS Foundation will provide $3 million, including $2.4 million in funding, and $600,000 of in-kind shipping services and has already begun an analysis of Ghana’s healthcare supply chain, providing expertise designed to complement the government’s vision to continually optimise the delivery of healthcare products.

Zipline, a California-based automated logistics company, said the UPS Foundation, which leads the global citizenship programmes for UPS and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will use drones to provide the services.

The service will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from four distribution centers, each equipped with 30 drones and will deliver to the target health facilities and people across the country. Logistics will be managed through Zipline’s hardware and software systems in each of the distribution centers, and deliveries will take place at hospitals and health clinics.

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.

The Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, Dr. Seth Berkley said “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”.

Berkley added that “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”.

Also speaking on the development, the President of The UPS Foundation and UPS Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Eduardo Martinez said “we are inspired to see technology and supply chain expertise used to help save lives and honored to be part of this public-private collaboration. It is with deepest gratitude we acknowledge the visionary Ghana government, Gavi, for their dedication to helping improve the health of communities in Ghana and around the world, and Zipline, for their leading-edge technology and passion to advance community health systems”.

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