Drone Service to Increase Healthcare Access to 14 Million Ghanaians

The drone delivery service to be rolled out by the Ministry of Health (MoH) is set revolutionize the health sector and increase access for more than 14 million people nationwide, according to Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
The project is said to give Ghana the most advanced health care supply chain on the planet and employ over 200 people including pharmacists, engineers, flight operators among many other Ghanaian professionals.
Director General of the Ghana Health Services (GHS), Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, disclosed this to the media at a press conference to explain structure of the Ministry’s contract with Zipline, the company to operate the service.
The medical drone delivery service, he said, will save tens of millions of Cedis by eliminating expensive emergency trips for medical products and avoid wasteful overstocking at health facilities.
The drones and the services, he said, will be built and operated by California-based automated logistics company, Zipline, at no cost to government.
According to him, government bears no risk of construction cost overruns, maintenance costs, or technology obsolescence because MoH will not own the facilities and equipment.
He averred that the contract is a Service Agreement that requires Zipline to build 4 fully-equipped distribution centers at MoH-specified locations across Ghana with 20 drones each and employ up to 50 people.
He stated that the cost for the service in Ghana at full operations is US$88,000 per center per month, which translates to $352,000 per month for all centers or $4,224,000 per year.
“There is an $11,000 per month on time payment discount as long as the service fee is timely paid in the previous month,” he said.
He argued that no value can be placed on even a single human life and stressed if the service even saves one life, it would be worth it.
The project, Dr. Nsiah-Asare said, will serve over 2,500 facilities and that the Ministry will be paying only $175 per facility per month for unimpeded instant access to almost any emergency supply a facility may need.
According to him, Zipline will operate the drone flights from the distribution centers on a 24/7 basis to deliver medical products on request to health facilities within an 80 km service radius.
The company, he said, will guarantee a capacity of 150 flights per day, which means the 4 distribution centers will be able to make up to 600 emergency deliveries per day and stressed that the flights have been modified to carry more than one product.
He disclosed that government will offset the cost by getting companies to contribute to the funding of the project through their corporate social responsibility and indicated that the Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) has pledged to support the project with one million dollars annually.

By Osumanu Al-Hassan/uthmanhass@gmail.com  

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