President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has commissioned the Zipline Distribution Centre at Mpanya, Asante Mampong, in the Ashanti Region.
This is the second medical drone distribution centre constructed by Zipline after Zipline Omenako Distribution Centre and is expected to serve health facilities in the Ashanti, parts of Brong Ahafo and Eastern Regions.
Addressing the chiefs and people of the area, President Akufo-Addo said the event is part of the government’s broader commitment to expand the reach of the drone service to ensure that no one is left behind when accessing emergency medicines and other health care products.
The President disclosed that the first distribution site at Omenako has made over 1000 flights and delivered over 5000 medical products.
“This is an impressive start and we hope that when all the 500 health facilities are on-board at that centre, we should be getting about 150 deliveries per day and serving more people”, he said.
According to the President, there have been various testimonies from patients and health practitioners of various health facilities about the benefits of the project and called on political opponents to desist from politicising issues concerning health.
He urged Zipline to ensure that all the remaining sites were completed within the best practicable time so that many more health facilities will benefit from the service.
On speculations that what the government is spending on procuring drones could have been invested in the purchase of ambulance, the President explained that the government is neither buying drones nor paying for the infrastructure costs of the project.
“As per our contract with Zipline, they procure all the drones required, build the infrastructure and we pay only for the cost of delivery of the medical products from the support we receive from corporate Ghana”, he said.
President Akufo-Addo congratulated the Minister of Health, Hon. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, and the Director-General of Ghana Health Service, Dr Nsiah Asare, for their efforts in ensuring that the project succeeds.
The United States Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Stephanie S. Sullivan, expressed her delight to be part of the commissioning of the Zipline Project and its expansion to reach more Ghanaians with its services.
She commended Zipline and the government of Ghana for providing rapid access to emergency medical supplies to especially people in rural and remote communities who have transportation challenges.
The project at Mampong, the American envoy said, is an example of applying innovative technological solutions to practical challenges towards achieving national development goals.
In a welcome address, the General Manager of Zipline Ghana, Mr Daniel Marfo disclosed that the distribution centre at Omenako is currently serving 52 health facilities. The Mpanya distribution centre we will start serving 16 health facilities from the day of inauguration.
“Over the next few weeks, we’ll begin delivering to hundreds of additional health centres and by April of 2020, we’ll be delivering to almost 2,000 health facilities across the country, Mr Marfo said.
He commended the President, Ministry of Health, National Blood Services, Pharmacy Council, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, donor partners, UPS Foundation, the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVI), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation & Pfizer and all whose generous support made it possible to construct the distribution centre at no capital cost to Ghana.
Source: MoH PR Unit