Today, the Government of Rwanda signed an agreement framework with Zipline Inc. to implement a first autonomous system for the delivery of blood products across the country. The system uses unmanned aircraft to make deliveries to rural health facilities for less than it would cost to make the same delivery using a motorbike. The system is designed and operated by Zipline, an American robotics company. The first deployment will be based in Muhanga District and will provide Rwandan citizens with reliable, on-demand access to blood and other essential medical products.
The Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said: “We believe that using cutting edge technology to allow supply chains to operate independently of existing infrastructure represents a huge opportunity for our country. This is one of the many initiatives that our government is putting in place in line with the Smart Rwanda Master Plan 2020 which was recently approved by the Government of Rwanda”.
Throughout Africa, difficult terrain often prevents medical products from reaching the last mile and the patients whose lives depend on it. The Zipline system bypasses the challenges of existing transportation, improves the efficiency of health supply chains, and provides reliable access to medical products for everyone.
“We’ve been impressed with Rwanda’s vision for the future”, said Keller Rinaudo, CEO of Zipline. “In automating their supply chain using unmanned aircraft, Rwanda is investing in innovative technology that will improve public health services and save lives. We’re very proud to be able to work with the Government of Rwanda achieve this audacious goal.”
Zipline is a robotics company based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. The company works with governments to make rapid deliveries of medical products to the last mile at very low cost. Its mission to build an automated supply chain for the world, allowing medicines and other products to be delivered on demand and at low cost using drones. Zipline partners with other global investors in the world, including: Sequoia Capital, GV, SV Angel, Jerry Yang, Paul Allen, and Stanford University.