Zipline drones have arrived in Rwanda, will start delivering blood and health supplies soon


Back in May, we found out that Medical personnel in Rwanda would soon be able to order blood and other emergency medical supplies via text message. Because building (and running) hospitals is pretty expensive for a country like Rwanda, the government was incentivised to help set up a commercial drone-delivery network. I saw a couple of tweets from UPS saying the UAVs are on the ground in Rwanda, and they should be up and ready to save lives in a couple of weeks.

The entire thing is a partnership between The UPS Foundation, Zipline, Gavi, and of course, the Rwandan Government. I have to applaud them for being forward thinking enough not to attempt to attempt to choke technology as nascent as UAVs (drones). They are certainly doing a better job than some of their (assumedly) more developed counterparts.

I don’t know about you, but I think this is the beginning of something pretty spesh. That’s because UPS says the drones can make up to 150 deliveries of blood to 21 transfusing facilities EVERY DAY. For example, WHO says Africa has a higher rate of maternal death due to postpartum haemorrhaging (bleeding after childbirth) than any other continent on earth. Imagine how many lives would be saved if the process of getting blood to these people becomes as lubricated as UPS, Gavi and Zipline claim it is.

While Rwanda’s drone delivery network is going to focus on delivering blood at first, the offerings will soon include vaccines, treatments for HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, etc.

Dis gon’ be good.