Kaduna, Zipline sign agreement for drone-delivered COVID-19 vaccines
Kaduna State Government has signed a deal with medical delivery firm Zipline that will allow drone shipment of COVID-19 vaccines without significant state investment in cold-chain storage.
“KDSG and Zipline have signed a service level agreement for the distribution of medical commodities in the state,” the state governor Malam Nasir El-Rufai said on Twitter.
“Zipline will add value to these KDSG initiatives by building distribution hubs in the state and using drones to deliver medical supplies.”
el-Rufai further stated that agreement is built on the state’s investments in primary health care and supply chain transformation in the health sector starting from 2015.
Zipline in a Reuters report noted that its end-to-end cold chain distribution capability can safely deliver even the Pfizer vaccine which would allow Kaduna health facilities to bypass purchases of ultra-low freezers and enable on-demand deliveries of precise amounts of COVID-19 vaccines.
The American medical product delivery company had operated distribution centers in Rwanda, Ghana, and US.
Pfizer vaccine for instance must be stored at around -70 degrees Celsius (-112°F) before being sent to distribution centres in specially designed cool boxes filled with dry ice.
Athough, Nigeria said it will seek vaccines that are less dependent on cooling facilities, Zipline said it is in talk with other states in the country.
Kaduna services are slated to begin in the second quarter, with round-the-clock service from three distribution centres with 30 drones each.
El-Rufai said Kaduna had also upgraded 255 primary health centres, installed a pharmagrade warehouse and is recruiting and training 3,000 officers to manage the facilities.
KDSG has upgraded 255 PHCs and is recruiting 3000 officers to strengthen the sector,” El Rufai said.
“The state has installed a Pharmagrade warehouse, run by its health supplies agencies to ease the provision of medicines, consumables and vaccines to its health facilities.”