The vice President of Ghana Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, on Wednesday, commissioned the first ever medical drone delivery service in Ghana, and this also is the largest of such drone delivery network in the world as of now. It was lunched at Omenako, near Suhum, in the Eastern region or the country.
The ‘Fly-To-Save-A-Life Project’, which is a collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Zipline Technologies, are aiming to provide a rapid response to medical emergencies in the nation, especially in areas that are hard to reach, through the flying of unmanned drones to supply 12 routine and emergency services as well as 148 lifesaving medical products which are selected by the Ministry of Health.
The Omenako Service Centre, which is actually the first of four planned centres, will supply these products to help facilities that are located in the whole of the Eastern Region, and also other parts of the Volta, Ashanti, Central and Greater Accra Regions. Three other centres are also expected to be completed within this year to cover most areas in Ghana.
The service is said to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each of the centres will be 100% staffed by Ghanaian engineers, logistics personnel and health care professionals, and paid for by the private sector through their corporate social responsibility obligations with no cost to the government of Ghana.
Speaking about almost a year now to the day since the possibility of setting up a medical drone service in Ghana was broached to him, the elated Vice President Bawumia of Ghana said the successful launch of the service is yet another example of the triumph of innovation yet to come, especially in the use of technology, being championed by the Nana Akufo-Addo government.
The Vice President, Bawumia was very happy and delighted to see that such an innovation was being applied to improve access to health care to the deprived and hard-to-reach communities, as it is also part of the Government’s strategy to help reduce inequality and hardships by making sure the inclusion of every Ghanaian irrespective of status in national development.
“One of the biggest pillars of this current administration has been how it can grow this country without leaving anyone of its citizens behind; inclusiveness. And one of the ways we are working on this is how to use technology to advance our development, improve the ways we do things in our offices, and also how to generally improve citizens’ access to and delivery of the public services as the need may be no matter where they live in this country.
The President “Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is very determined in regards as to reducing inequality and hardships for every Ghanaian citizen, most especially for the disadvantaged. That is why we are implementing Free SHS. This determination has also informed government’s decision to increase the portion of the District Assemblies Common allocated to Persons Living with Disability by a whooping 50%. That is the reason why we restored the Nursing and Teacher Training Allowances cancelled by the previous government, set up the Zongo Development Fund, and are constructing dams in northern region of Ghana through the One Village One Dam to ensure all year-round farming.
“As you all are aware, we have canceled fees for post graduate medical training in Ghana, we also have set up the three Development Authorities – Coastal, Middle Belt and Northern -, and you can now easily renew your National Health Insurance through your mobile phones. Soon, in collaboration with the National Identification Authority, Ghanaians would also be able to register, renew and access health care services using the Ghana Card,” Vice President Bawumia further stressed.
Further stressing on the health care issue, Vice President Bawumia has deplored the avoidable deaths arising from the lack, or timely availability of, different types of vaccines, blood products and life-saving medications, and commended the Ministry of Health and their partners for making the launch of the Fly-To-Save-A-Life Project a success and for working to save Ghanaian lives.
“Also note, that this is not a total replacement for the already existing programmes, but a complement. Come July this year, the Government will be receiving the 275 ambulances which are already purchased, to further strengthen the health delivery system and to make treatment of emergency cases more effective,” he disclosed.
The Zipline project which is underway and has already attracted several international minds and top players like Pfizer, NOVARTIS, GAVI, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and UPS have already got engaged with Zipline to deliver healthcare medicines and other supplies in Ghana on their behalf using drones.