By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
Cross River State Government is set to deploy digital medical drones to hard to reach areas of the state.
The drones will supply drugs and other medical essentials to such areas.
To this effect, the government is partnering a drone delivery company, Zipline.
Speaking on Monday during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Zipline officials in Calabar, the state governor, Professor Ben Ayade said Cross River was playing a special role in the heath sector, stating that “in 90 days, we will start the delivery of essential drugs to hard to reach areas facilitated by drone delivery systems.”
Assuring Zipline officials of necessary support to carry out their assignment, the governor said: “I want to thank the entire team, I want to thank you for your commitment to this course and we are here to provide you all the necessary support to see that you start on a strong footing.”
He expressed optimism that going forward, Zipline will be a major stakeholder in quality healthcare delivery in the state, especially when the state owned pharmaceutical company, Calapharm, starts running.
“When our pharmaceutical company starts running, it will be a major producer of most of these drugs and we believe that your expertise will really be needed around that area since your delivery time is just about 30 minutes. We have to have them across the three Senatorial districts to guarantee that from the point of dispatch to the point of delivery, we should be able to do 30minutes per package”, Ayade quipped.
Zipline’s Senior Vice President, Daniel Marfo in his speech commended governor Ayade’s strides in the health sector and pledged his company’s commitment to sustaining the tempo.
“We are most pleased with your dynamic vision of ensuring that Cross River State leapfrogs the tradition and the norms and by taking a step to the future”, Marfo told the governor.
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, described the drone delivery system as a game changer “in ensuring that medical supplies, drugs, vaccines can be delivered to health centres in real time and in the shortest possible time so that people can get help when they need it.”