Ghana leading the world in the use of drones to deliver COVID-19 test samples to testing laboratories.

by Duke Magazine
Image credit: Zipline

With the number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the increase in the Africa continent, Ghana has proceeded with the transportation of COVID-19 test samples collected from suspected infected patients to the country’s accredited testing laboratories . 

The rapid delivery of the test samples is operated by Zipline (the world’s only national scale on-demand drone delivery service). Its drones will airborne coronavirus test samples collected from patients in over a thousand health facilities located across the country in a bid to ease the difficulty to reaching out to rural areas of Ghana to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research laboratories in the nation’s capital, Accra and also Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research (KCCR) in Kumasi.

This brilliant initiative is braced towards improving the ability of the Ghanaian government to put  the wide spread of the pandemic on a close watch. Ghana has since the outbreak had 1,279 persons tested positive to the virus, with 134 recoveries and 10 deaths. 

In a recent nationwide live broadcast on measures adopted in fighting against the novel coronavirus in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo said:

“Government has also introduced the use of drones to expedite the transportation of samples to laboratory centers. On Friday 17th April for example, 51 samples were delivered from the Omenako Drone Distribution Centre to Noguchi,” 

“Furthermore, we are introducing rapid results testing to augment our surveillance and enhanced contact tracing efforts, so that we can quickly isolate and treat confirmed cases,” he added.

Image credit: Zipline

Zipline, the California-based company is also expected to deliver COVID-19 test samples collected at regional hospitals near its Mampong distribution center to the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research.

The first of such delivery had taken place on Saturday, April 18, 2020, it was stated that it is expected to operate this service on a daily basis complementing the government’s proactive response to the virus outbreak.

This is unarguably the very first time ever that autonomous drones would been used as a medium of making regular long-range deliveries into densely populated urban center. This also coincides with the maiden use of drones for COVID-19 test samples delivery. 

“Zipline is dedicated to helping Ghana in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo. “Using contactless drone delivery to transport COVID-19 test samples will allow the government to respond to the pandemic and help save lives more quickly.”

“Thanks to the partnership with the Ministry of Health and with the help of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, Zipline is now able to further strengthen Ghana’s response to the pandemic,” Daniel Marfo, General Manager of Zipline in Ghana added.

Prior to the intuitive idea of employing the use of drone delivery, COVID-19 test sample delivery could take a longer while before collected samples get to the test laboratories. 

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