In Rwanda, hospitals are now being delivered by drones

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In Rwanda, in order to gain faster access to medical centres in need, a Californian start-up has created drones capable of transporting medical equipment. This innovative delivery method significantly reduces waiting times for doctors and patients, and often saves lives. Since its launch in October 2016, the start-up is destined for a promising future.

 

What are the drones carrying?

Medical drones make vital deliveries: they drop packages at the foot of medical centres, with on board products essential to the life of the inhabitants: blood bags, vaccines, and soon medical materials. This merchandise is precious for the medical teams and allows them to treat their patient correctly.

In Rwanda, health centres and hospitals far from cities are difficult to access and often under-equipped. This is particularly the case with regard to blood stocks. Yet essential, blood bags are missing. These medical drones provide a real solution. Within minutes, patients can receive a blood transfusion and be treated decently.   

 

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A fast and less constraining delivery

Using conventional means of transport takes much more time and is more restrictive. With the drone, deliveries are made day and night, in hot weather or in times of heavy rain. But the main advantage of this technology is its speed. Within hospitals, needs are often urgent and long queues are created. To cover 40km, a 1 hours car ride, the drone planned to take less than 25 minutes by air. We told you: a revolutionary innovation!

 

Automated drones

These drones weigh 12kg and run on batteries. No human travel is necessary as they are remotely controlled by computer from a base with the necessary infrastructure. Indeed, to keep the blood bags at an adequate temperature, fridges large enough must be requisitioned.

The company behind the project, a California-based start-up Zipline, has committed to participate in local development. The team should be composed entirely of Rwandan employees. In partnership with the Government of Rwanda, Zipline serves 21 hospitals across western Rwanda, providing instant access to vital blood products for 8 million Rwandans since October 2016. Currently, there is an average of 10 take-offs per day.

 

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Future prospects

The future of this particular drones seems assured: already many investors show interest and not the least: the founder of Microsoft, the one of Yahoo, a subsidiary of Google… And the sums involved are astronomical. This technology should be developed on a larger scale in the future. The start-up is destined for a promising future!

 


 

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