The Rwandan government signed a deal to cooperate with the company Zipline based in the United States. The American shipping company United Parcel Service is providing money and operational support for the project. Rwandan officials say that deliveries of blood and medicine by truck take at least four hours, even under the best conditions. With drones, the trip can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says Africa has the world’s highest rate of pregnancy deaths resulting from bleeding. This makes the availability of blood and transfusions very important for women across the continent, it says. The process begins with a doctor requesting blood or medicine by telephone or a text message. Someone then puts the supplies into a special box, which is loaded onto a drone. The drone is then launched and flies by itself to the medical center. The supplies are dropped from the air and float to the ground in a parachute. Zipline says its drones can complete hundreds of deliveries per day.