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REPORT: UPS drones are saving lives in Africa

by ASC Staff on May 4, 2017


Over the course of the next year, and with the support of the partnership with UPS and Gavi, Zipline plans to expand drone delivery services to countries across Africa and the Americas.
Over the course of the next year, and with the support of the partnership with UPS and Gavi, Zipline plans to expand drone delivery services to countries across Africa and the Americas.

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In late 2016, Rwandan President Paul Kagame launched the world’s fi rst national drone delivery service during a ceremony in the country’s centrally located Muhanga District.

The Rwandan government is using drones to make up to 150 on-demand, emergency deliveries per day of life-saving blood to 21 transfusing facilities located in the western half of the country.

The drones and delivery service are built and operated by Zipline, a California-based robotics company.

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While Rwanda’s drone delivery service will initially focus on blood, an international partnership between UPS, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Zipline will help the country quickly expand the types of medicines and lifesaving vaccines that can be delivered.

“Drones are very useful, both commercially and for improving services in the health sector. We are happy to be launching this innovative technology and to continue working with partners to develop it further,” President Kagame said during the ceremony. ‎

“The inability to deliver life saving medicines to the people who need them the most causes millions of preventable deaths each year around the world. Zipline will help solve that problem once and for all,” says Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo. “We’ve built an instant delivery system for the world, allowing medicine to be delivered on-demand and at low-cost, anywhere.”

International director of public relations at UPS, Gregg Svingen adds that there are plans to expand the service to other parts of the country, with details likely to be forthcoming in the near-future. “This is not just a historic development for logistics,” says Svingen. “It’s not just a historic moment for humanitarian aid potential either. It is life saving and it actually means something to people from day one.”

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