• Mercy flight

    Mercy flight

    Battery-powered drones will be used to help deliver COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare facilities in Nigeria’s Kaduna state.

    Reuters reports that its deal with a medical-delivery services company means the state will not have to make a significant investment in cold-chain facilities, such as ultra-low temperature freezers, required to transport the vaccine.

    According to California-based Zipline, which has already delivered 1 million doses of other vaccines across Africa this year and has been working in Ghana and Rwanda since 2016, the initiative will enable on-demand delivery of specific quantities of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as blood products and medicine. Its end-to-end cold-chain distribution service enables the safe delivery of the doses when they are needed.

    ‘It will help ensure that millions of people in Kaduna State will always get the care they need,’ says Kaduna governor Nasir El-Rufai.

    The drone service, with three distribution centres each dispatching 30 drones 24 hours a day, is expected to start in Kaduna in the second quarter of 2021. The GPS-guided drones, which have a 1.75 kg capacity and an 800 km delivery radius, will drop the payload via parachute.

    9 February 2021
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images