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Cross River to deploy drones to deliver medical supplies to rural communities



The Cross River State Government has announced that it will begin the use of drones to deliver medical supplies in hard to reach areas in the state, this is as the government has signed an MOU with Zipline technology, a drone manufacturing company to do that regards.

The move, a part of the state plans to ensure Universal Health Coverage was cemented early this week at a ceremony at the Cross River State Government House, in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Governor Ben Ayade stated that the drone medical services will play a special role in the recently launched State Health Insurance Scheme and his larger vision to make quality health care accessible even in rural communities;

“In 90 days, we will start the delivery of essential drugs to hard to reach areas facilitated by the use of Drone delivery systems, the first of its kind in south-south Nigeria.”

The Governor 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, starts running.
“When our pharmaceutical company begins operation, it will be a major producer of most of these drugs, while you handle Ariel logistics. we should be able to do 30minutes per delivery.” Ayade stated.

Also speaking, Dr Betta Edu, the state commissioner of heath held that the deployment of drones will reduce waste and save lives.

“In a bid to ensure that medical supplies, drugs, consumables, blood and even vaccines get to our health facilities right on time and in their right potent form, we’ve found it necessary to introduce this innovation into our health system putting into consideration the numerous access challenges the state is facing today.

“These Drones will make the delivery of health products convenient and fast as many lives will be saved as a result of this. We’ll immediately align it with the State’s health dashboard and all proceedings will be monitored to enable us to know which health facility is lacking what to avoid stock out.” She said.

Zipline’s Senior Vice President in charge of Africa Operations, Mr Daniel Marfo on his part commended the state for the huge trust, and vouch that the agreement signed mean more strides for the state health sector.

“Let me on behalf of my team say we’re most pleased with your dynamic vision of ensuring that Cross River State leapfrogs the tradition and norms by leaving the analogue way of transporting medical products and moving into the 22nd century using technology. We will achieve positive results with a mandate to cover the entire State and country within a short time.”

The Drones is said to have the capacity to cover about 85km, an autonomous control mechanism and a flight operation team at every distance with an ability to supply medical products and other consumables to such areas.

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