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Americares and Zipline Deliver Medicines and Medical Supplies by Drone

  • August 10, 2021
  • Access to Medicine
  • Ghana
  • An employee of the Nsuta Health Center in Ghana’s Ashanti Region picks up a Zipline delivery from Americares. Photo by Nana Kofi Acquah/Americares.

Effort aims to improve access to medicine and COVID-prevention supplies in Ghana

Stamford, Conn. – Aug. 10, 2021 – Americares, a health-focused relief and development organization and Zipline, the global leader in instant logistics, are teaming up with Women’s Health to Wealth, Ghana’s Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service to deliver urgently needed medicines, medical supplies and infection-control supplies to hard-to-reach health facilities in Ghana.

Together, they are delivering high-quality medical products including medicines, syringes and intravenous fluids via Zipline’s on-demand delivery service to 92 health facilities that otherwise would have to wait hours, or even days, for shipments to arrive by vehicle. Women’s Health to Wealth, a Ghanaian nonprofit focused on women’s and children’s health, education and financial empowerment, the Ghanaian Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service are also partnering on the project.

“We are reducing the delivery time for critically needed medicines from hours or days to under an hour in many situations,” said Americares Director of Africa and Middle East Programs Haroun Habib. “Drone delivery has also reduced the number of people who have to come into contact to deliver medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the risk of infection for health workers.”

Although initially designed to speed delivery of urgently needed emergency medicine and supplies such as IV fluids and birthing kits, Americares expanded its product offerings to include critically needed cleaning supplies, including disinfecting wipes and liquid hand soap to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Health workers at health facilities supported by Women’s Health to Wealth can request medicines and supplies from the Zipline distribution center in Mpanya by phone, messaging apps or text message. Once the request is made, Zipline packages the products, which Americares ships from the United States to Women’s Health to Wealth free of charge, into an aircraft and dispatches it to the health facility. Each aircraft can carry approximately 3.9 pounds of product and can travel up to 100 miles in a round trip. The shipment is released from the aircraft over a designated area at the health center and lands with the help of a parachute. A health worker then collects the package and administers the requested products to the patient free of charge.

A 3-year-old boy receives an infusion of fluids from Americares delivered by drone to Nsuta Health Center in Ghana’s Ashanti Region. Photo by Nana Kofi Acquah/Americares.
A 3-year-old boy receives an infusion of fluids from Americares delivered by drone to Nsuta Health Center in Ghana’s Ashanti Region. Photo by Nana Kofi Acquah/Americares.

To date, Americares has delivered approximately $190,000 worth of medicines and supplies via Zipline for distribution to health centers in Ghana, and nearly 2,000 flights carrying products donated by Americares have been completed in the region. 

The General Manager of Zipline Ghana Mrs. Naa Adorkor Yawson said, “Our vision has always been to improve equitable access to medical supplies through instant delivery. We’re honored to support this effort, by which we hope to improve the wellbeing of our own people.”

“Women’s Health to Health is proud to be associated with this collaboration which enables us to support hard-to-reach health facilities in rural areas with critical medicines and medical supplies in a timely manner which can ultimately save lives,” said Women’s Health to Health Founder and Executive Director Abenaa Akuamoa-Boateng.

Americares has been providing assistance to Ghana since 1991, delivering over $100 million in medicine and medical supplies to support health services for families in need.

Americares helps communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters; increase access to critical medicine and medical supplies; improve and expand clinical services; and prevent disease and promote good health. Since its founding more than 40 years ago, Americares has provided more than $19 billion in aid to 164 countries, including the United States.

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