President Akufo-Addo has taken a dig at critics of the medical drone delivery service saying he preferred such an investment to the infamous Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) project.
“I prefer drones delivery flying to deliver essential medicines to our people than an investment in guinea fowl that allegedly fly out to Burkina Faso without any trace,” he said during his encounter with the media Wednesday.
The management of SADA in 2015 disclosed in one of their responses to the whereabouts of the hundreds of guinea fowls they claimed to be rearing, that the birds had flown to Burkina Faso after a fact-finding visits by journalists to the facility where the animals were being reared by Asongtaba Cottage Industry at Sumbrungu near Bolgatanga in the Upper East region.
The media, during the numerous visits, only spotted a handful of birds contrary to reports that they were in hundreds in justification of the huge funds government sunk into the project.
The management at the time struggled to explain the whereabouts of the rest of the birds; subsequently, it was revealed they may have flown to an unknown destination in neighbouring Burkina Faso.
Corporate Ghana to fund drone project
The project which was approved by Parliament on December 12, according to President Akufo-Addo will make Ghana the destination to world’s largest advance medical drone delivery network and that it will not be funded on the public budget, reiterating what his vice said Tuesday.
“This programme is not going to be run on the public budget, corporate social responsibility contributors from private sector players will pay for the service,” he said.
He also said the four distribution centres where the drones will be operating will stock 148 lifesaving and essential medical supplies not only blood.
“The drone delivery service will save lives, decrease wastage in the system, guarantee health access to more than 14million people nationwide and employ over 200, Ghanaian,” he said.
The drone delivery network, which will be run by the Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Health, will give Ghana one of the most advanced health care supply chains on the planet.
The drones will operate 24 hours a day from 4 distribution centers across the country. The first distribution center will be located near Suhum. The sites for the remaining 3 will be finalized by GHS subsequently, but are expected to cover much of the country.
The distribution centers will stock 148 lifesaving and essential medical supplies including emergency blood and oxytocin to save women’s lives in childbirth postpartum haemorrhage which is the leading cause of maternal death, emergency medicines for surgeries, severe infections, antivenins and anti-rabies, diabetic emergencies, extremely high blood pressure emergencies.
When one of the of the 2,500 health facilities covered by the new service stocks out of a product, it will order an emergency delivery by a drone that will arrive in 30-40 minutes.
The drones will not replace the existing supply chain. They will specialize in handling emergency stock out situations. Ghana’s emergency medical drone delivery service will save tens of millions of Cedis by eliminating the need for expensive emergency trips to pick up the product, and by avoiding wasteful overstocking of product at health facilities.
This revolutionary healthcare service will help save lives, decrease waste in the system and increase healthcare access for more than 14 million people nationwide.
The drones and delivery service are built and operated by Zipline, a California-based automated logistics company, which helped launched the world’s first national drone delivery service in Rwanda in October of 2016.
The medical drone delivery service has been so successful at decreasing waste, increasing access and saving lives that the government of Rwanda recently asked Zipline to quadruple the size of its operation there.