Drones delivered over 5000 blood units in 2017

On 9 January 2018 at 10:01

Rwanda’s Ministry of Health (Minisante) has saluted strides observed from the ingenious drone delivery service known as “Uber for blood” which has slashed the delivery time of life-saving medicine to remote areas of the country.

The little unmanned aerial vehicles commonly known as drones delivered more than 5,000 blood packages last year. The delivery system was launched in October 2016 in in Muhanga District where the Zipline drones base is located.

President Paul Kagame who officially started the project said the drones had a great importance in reducing the loss of lives.

As Minisante welcomed a team of 19 health professionals from Tanzania’s Africa Society for Blood Transfusion on Monday, Permanent Secretary Dr. Jean Pierre Nyemazi said the drones supplied over 5,000 blood units to 12 hospitals across the country.

“As you surely would know, the drones take off from Muhanga to deliver blood units. So far, 12 hospitals have received more than 5000 blood units. It is a very reliable system which has significantly reduced the delivery time from three hours to half an hour,” he said.

The project was reached thanks to the partnership between Zipline, a Silicon Valley robotics company, and Minisante.

The team of 19 visiting Rwanda for a week comes from Tanzania, Cameroun, South-Africa, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ghana. During their visit, they will deliberate on challenges they meet daily and find solutions that will help improve blood delivery in their hospitals.

​Tanzanian Health and Social Welfare Minister and leader of the team, Prof. Muhammad Bakari Kambi, said that Rwanda is a good example to emulate in blood units’ delivery.

“Rwanda is one of the few African countries meeting all the requirements by the Africa Society for Blood Transfusion. It has reached an admirable level […] this also shows the citizen participation and goodwill in donating blood to help the patients,” he said.