As part of a new partnership between Zipline, a medical drone delivery company, logistics giant the UPS Foundation and the Government of Ghana, up to 2.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines be distributed to vaccination sites in the coming weeks and months across Ghana.
The aim of the partnership is to improve both the speed and access of these vaccines, by providing on-demand delivery, even to the hardest-to-reach areas in Ghana.
In the coming days, UPS vehicles will transport doses onward to regional EPI cold-points and four Zipline “nests” – launch-bases for the company’s squadrons of autonomous medical delivery drones. This first volley of vaccines is expected to be distributed across Accra, Ashanti and the central region.
When the drones reach their destination – whether it is a health facility or a remote out-reach vaccination centre – rather than landing, they instead lower their altitude to release their payload from the air. This then parachutes to the ground, landing safely and accurately in a landing zone roughly three metres wide.
With this new partnership, Zipline drones will parachute insulated packages containing doses of COVID-19 vaccine quickly, safely and precisely down to health facilities, helping to secure equitable access to protection from COVID-19 for people all across Ghana – “even in areas that do not have cold chain equipment,” says Naa Adorkor Yawson, General Manager of Zipline Ghana.
UPS and Ghana Health Service delivery vans will tackle the ground-level portion of the vaccine roll-out. “This is a moment like no other and it demands the expertise that UPS has developed in Healthcare Logistics,” said Nicole Clifton, President of the UPS Foundation, in the statement.
“With every dose [of COVID-19 vaccine] being so important, it is critical to ensure that our partner countries have the necessary support and tools to deliver vaccines effectively and efficiently to those who need them,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi.