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Cross River State partners Zipline to distribute medical supplies with drone

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Cross River State has announced a partnership with Zipline, the world’s first and only national scale drone delivery service, for on-demand delivery of medical supplies, including thousands of vaccines, medications, and blood products, to health facilities across the state.

Zipline plans to initially build two distribution centers to facilitate deliveries to more than 1,000 health facilities that serve millions of people across the state.

The distribution centres will support the delivery of medical supplies 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while the construction of the first distribution centre is expected to begin immediately and completed within six months from the start date.

The partnership was made possible by the great foresight and collaboration of Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Benedict Ayade, commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, and the Director-General of the Primary Healthcare Agency, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, and other stakeholders like Dr Linda Ayade, Wife of the governor.

Together, Zipline and Cross River State aims to improve the health delivery system of the state and increase access to health care for communities across the state, even in remote areas.

Governor Ayade said, “Healthcare is one of our top priorities, and we are committed to creating a functional system in which no one is left behind.

“Zipline is a key, innovative part of our investment in our health systems. Their delivery service will help us to remove access barriers to health care and create a more equitable and efficient Health system across the state.

“The focus of this partnership is to ensure that all barriers hindering the successful delivery of medical commodities to our people is removed. This is one of the many forward-thinking interventions we are implementing to consolidate the gains we have made within the health care system.”

Dr. Edu said, “This agreement is an important milestone for us at Cross River State as we strengthen our health system with emphasis on Primary Health care to enable us achieve universal Health coverage. We anticipate that this revolutionary technology will improve access and even distribution of medical commodities to remote and hard-to-reach areas, which has only become more urgent with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Senior Vice President of Africa at Zipline, Daniel Marfo, said they are on a mission to transform health care systems around the world, and we’re thrilled to partner with Cross River State as they invest in innovation to improve the health of their people.

“Our partnership is not just about delivering medical supplies. We are working together to reimagine how health systems work, how to best deliver care to patients, and increase access for all people by designing a better system,” Marfo added.

Zipline is expected to support all health facilities with emergency response capabilities, as well as routine and stockout-response deliveries of medicines, vaccines, and blood. Zipline will also serve as the sole supplier for some health facilities in remote regions in Cross River State, creating a more efficient delivery service.

The partnership between Cross River State and Zipline will lead to the creation of healthcare and engineering jobs for indigenes of Cross River State. The partnership will also lead to knowledge transfer in the area of drone technology.


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