The third national site for the world’s largest drone medical supply operation has been commissioned by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, at Vobsi near Walewale in the North East Region.
Just like the other facilities located at Omenako in the Eastern region, Mpanya in the Ashanti region and Sefwi Wiawso in the Western North region, this facility supplies on demand, blood and other essential medical consumables to hundreds of facilities in the five northern regions. The Vobsi facility undertakes on average, 90 life-saving flights a day, according to officials of Zipline Ghana Limited.
Commissioning the facility on Saturday, 12th September, 2020 Vice President Bawumia said the many stories of saved lives is an affirmation of Government’s decision to introduce the revolutionary service into Ghana, despite fierce criticism from the opposition.
“The decision of the government to adopt this revolutionary service of using drones to deliver on-demand, emergency medical commodities has not only made Ghana the host to the biggest medical drone delivery system on the continent, but has also significantly improved access to basic emergency medical commodities by health facilities. It is therefore most appropriate that we refer to it as ‘Fly-To-Save-A-Life Project’.
“I have been informed about the joy of one Dr Issabella Amese, the Medical Superintendent at the Baptist Medical Centre at Nalerigu, who urgently needed 4 units of “O” frozen fresh plasma (FFP) at 3:21am to save the life of a woman who was in a critical condition, and how Zipline intervened just in time. Indeed, we have a true and functioning ‘Fly-To-Save-A-Life Project.’
“The hospital was in short supply of blood and the only hope for this woman to survive was Zipline. Thankfully, Zipline got the necessary clearance from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and immediately flew the much-needed blood product at that time from this very distribution center to the hospital. Today, the woman who was at the verge of death is alive and doing so well.
“Stories such as this motivate us to continue to provide leadership for our people and investment in their lives, so that we do not lose valuable lives as a result of non-availability of critical medical commodities. Indeed, every life matters,” Dr Bawumia disclosed.
The impact of the Zipline service cannot be over-emphasised, the Vice President maintained.
“There are many instances where our health professionals have openly testified how this technology is contributing to boosting their morale, with the full assurance that even in very difficult moments, like shortage of blood products during emergencies, Zipline will deliver just in time.
“As at today, over 120,000 medical products have been delivered to several health facilities across the country from the various distribution centers. What this means is that many lives have been saved with this technology. That is why we should remain resilient and focused in attending to the needs of the people who put us in positions. They look up to us, and we have to remain committed to improving their quality of life.
Lauding the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, Zipline and other key stakeholders for the “great work done so far”, Dr Bawumia hinted that discussions had already began towards expanding the drone services to other deprived and hard-to-reach communities.
“In the light of the many success stories we are hearing from the beneficiary communities, and our obligation to ensure that national resources and critical services are fairly distributed to all people living in Ghana, we may soon consider the need to expand this service by Zipline to all parts of the country, particularly the hard-to-reach areas.
“My understanding is that at the full capacity of the 4 distribution centres, Zipline will be able to serve about 2,000 health facilities within their range. However, we know that there are many more health facilities in this country which also need to benefit from this amazing service.
“Currently, there are many health facilities in the Upper West, Volta, Oti, Savannah and Bono East Regions, and other deprived facilities along the coast which do not benefit from this life-saving service. It is our hope that soon we will be able to reach out to meet their medical emergencies.
“What we have now is just the beginning. We have to start from somewhere, hoping that in the shortest possible time, many more health facilities across the length and breadth of the country will also enjoy this service. We are looking at a possible eight sites, so we have full national coverage. I urge all stakeholders to work together to ensure this becomes a reality as soon as possible.”
The Akufo-Addo government, he continued, is “fully committed to fixing the challenges that confront us as a country. Anybody who goes around the country would see the development taking place in the area of education, health, agriculture, and virtually every area of the economy.
“Therefore, when we say our records are far superior, for which we ask for 4 more to do more, the overwhelming evidence is there to show. With what this government has done within just 4 years, I have no doubt in my mind that Ghanaians will renew our mandate come December, just so that we could do more for them.”
Story: Sheila Satori Mensa