Cross River Signs MoU With American Delivery Firm To Use Drones For Medical Supplies

In Breaking News, Health, International News
An excited Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River (in blue suit) discusses with his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu (in white) and others shortly after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the State and Zipline, an American drone delivery service company for the procurement of drones to deliver medical essentials to hard to reach areas at the Governors Office in Calabar. Monday May 10, 2021. (Credit: GHP/Dan Williams)

By Ushang Ewa

Weeks after disclosing its intention to deploy drones for the supply of drugs and medical essentials to hard-to-reach areas (HTRAs), the Cross River State Government has signed a memorandum of understanding with drone delivery company Zipline.

The State has over 100 HTRAs whose designation, as the name implies, stems from difficult terrains to lack of access roads and waterways.

Founded in 2014, Zipline is an American medical product delivery company headquartered in South San Francisco, California that designs, manufactures, and operates delivery drones. It currently operates distribution centers in Rwanda, Ghana, and the US.

And, during the MoU signing ceremony at the Governor’s Office in Calabar on Monday, the Governor, Ben Ayade averred that, “in 90 days, we will start the delivery of essential drugs to hard to reach areas facilitated by drone delivery systems.”

Assuring Zipline officials of necessary support to carry out their assignment, Mr. Ayade said: “I want to thank the entire team, I want to thank you for your commitment to this course and we are here to provide you all the necessary support to see that you start on a strong footing.”

The Governor expressed optimism that the deal will aid in the sustainability of the state owned pharmaceutical company, Calapharm, when it goes operational.

“When our pharmaceutical company starts running, it will be a major producer of most of these drugs and we believe that your expertise will really be needed around that area since your delivery time is just about 30 minutes. We have to have them across the three Senatorial districts to guarantee that from the point of dispatch to the point of delivery, we should be able to do 30minutes per package”, Ayade quipped.

CRS Governor, Ben Ayade (3L), his Deputy, Professor Ivara Esu (2L) CRS SSG, Barrister Tina Agbor (1L) listen to the Health Commissioner, Dr. Betta Edu while presenting the Zipline drone to the State during the a brief ceremony at the Governor’s Office in Calabar where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the State and American drone delivery company, Zipline. 10/5/2021. (Credit: GHP/Dan Williams)

Zipline’s Senior Vice President, Daniel Marfo during the presentation of the drone said the the company was “most pleased” with Mr. Ayade’s vision, “of ensuring that Cross River State leapfrogs the tradition and the norms and by taking a step to the future.”

Earlier, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, described the drone delivery system as a game changer “in ensuring that medical supplies, drugs, vaccines can be delivered to health centers in real time and in the shortest possible time so that people can get help when they need it.”

L-R: DG CRSPHCA, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong; CRS Attorney General, Tanko Ashang; CRS SSG, Tina Agbor; CRS Deputy Governor, Ivara Esu; CRS Governor, Ben Ayade; CRS Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, and staff of American drone delivery company, Zipline pose for a photograph after signing a Memorandum of Understanding to use drones for the delivery of medical essentials to hard to reach areas in Cross River State. 10/5/2021. (Credit: GHP/Dan Williams)

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