Zipline in partnership with the Tanzanian government is launching world’s largest drone delivery service to provide emergency on-demand access to critical and life-saving medicines.
The Tanzanian government will begin using drones in the first quarter of 2018, to make up to 2,000 life-saving deliveries per day to over one thousand health facilities, serving 10 million people across the country.
“Every life is precious. The government of Tanzania through the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children has made great achievements in improving health services including the availability of medicines in all Public Health Facilities,” said Dr. Mpoki Ulisubisya, Permanent Secretary of the Tanzania Ministry of Health. “Our vision is to have a healthy society with improved social well-being that will contribute effectively to personal and national development; working with Zipline will help make that vision a reality.”
Founded out of San Francisco in 2011, Zipline builds autonomous drones designed to deliver vaccines, medicine, or blood on request from health workers operating in hard-to-reach areas. Health workers at clinics and hospitals call text or WhatsApp an order to Zipline for the medical products they need. Zipline which stores medical products in its distribution centre packs the medical products on a drone that races 100 km/h and delivered gently on by parachute, landing in a designated area the size of a few parking spaces. The hospital staffs thereafter are notified via text. Each drone is capable of carrying 1.5kg loads.
Zipline which has raised over $40 million in outside funding; boasts of backers such as Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Yahoo founder Jerry Yang.
In 2016, Zipline partnered with the Rwandan government to form world’s first national drone delivery service to make on-demand emergency blood deliveries to transfusion clinics across the country. Since the October launch, Zipline has flown more than 100,000 km in Rwanda, delivering 2,600 units of blood over 1,400 flights.
Forming World’s largest drone delivery network – Zipline
Tanzania through the Tanzanian Ministry of Health will make on-demand drone delivery of blood transfusion supplies, emergency vaccines, HIV medications, anti-malarial and critical medical supplies like sutures and IV tubes.
“Millions of people across the world die each year because they can’t get the medicine they need when they need it,” said Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo. “It’s a problem in both developed and developing countries. But it’s a problem we can help solve with on-demand drone delivery. And African nations are showing the world how it’s done.”
The first distribution centre, will be located in Dodoma, the country’s capital, and will begin its first flights in the first quarter of 2018. Three additional distribution centres—two in the north-western corner of Tanzania near Mwanza and Lake Victoria, and one in the Southern Highlands near Mbeya, will follow, working in close collaboration with civil and military aviation authorities. Zipline says that each of the four distribution centres will be equipped with up to 30 drones and will be capable of making up to 500 on-demand delivery flights a day.