By; PAMELA EBOH, Awka
The Anambra State Government has announced its readiness to break the barriers of drug delivery in the hard -to-reach areas of the state using drones.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala made this known during a press conference in Awka.
He explained that to make it work, the state health Ministry will partner with Zipline, a drug delivery company using drones for deliveries to hard-to-reach communities of the state.
The areas include, Anambra North, Anambra East and other riverine communities.
Okpala who spoke after an inspection tour with the African Representative of Zipline, Mr Yaniv Gelnik re-emphasised Gov. Willie Obiano’s commitment toward the healthcare sector of the state.
He expressed gratitude to Mr Gelnik, who was on ground to inspect the state facilities and to evaluate opportunities in the drug drone service delivery.
He said, We have seen the work they are doing in Rwanda, where they crashed incidences of deaths from postpartum haemorrhage; bleeding after delivery by women, down to zero.
“Postpartum haemorrhage is often defined as loss of more than 500 ml or 1,000 ml of blood within the first 24 hours following childbirth. There are also signs or symptoms of low blood volume for such conditions to exist.
“They have covered the entire Rwanda and also delivering same services in Ghana.’’
The commissioner stressed that partnering the company would be an opportunity for them to improve on delivery of blood and other essential medications to AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria patients.
Okpala added “Delivery of medications like Pitocin will help women during deliveries so that they don’t bleed while maintaining the potency of the medications.”
“We like to see these services deployed in Anambra State.”
The commissioner hailed the state governor for granting approval to the Ministry to explore opportunities for the service, which according to him will be help health delivery in the state.
In his speech, Zipline’s African Representative, Mr Gelnik said that Zipline’s Medical Product Delivery Company, with headquarters in South San Francisco, California, United States of America is designed, built and operates distribution centres in Rwanda and Ghana.
He said that the company began drone deliveries in Rwanda in 2016 and primarily delivered blood and other essential commodities.
“From what I have seen so far, the state will be ready for the partnership.
“We are specialised in delivering critical and life saving products precisely where and when they are needed, safely, reliably, everyday and across multiple countries.
“Since Zipline was founded in 2014, we have built the world’s fastest and most reliable delivery drones, the world’s largest autonomous logistics network with truly amazing team.
“We have started the process of applying for clearance from Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA); once we receive permission, Anambra State will be the first state in Nigeria to use drone technology for this service”, Gelnik stated.
He expressed satisfaction with the facilities on ground saying that they are not only well managed, but meets the Zipline standards.
He further expressed his desire to see the state become the first to use drone technology in Nigeria.