BY: Vivian Dzoboku I Voltaonlinegh.com |
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has inaugurated two Zipline Distribution Centres in Anum and Kete Krachi in the Eastern and Oti Regions respectively.
The commissioning, which was done concurrently on Monday, brings to six, the number of medical drone distribution centers constructed in the country. The two new ones will serve about 250 health facilities in Volta, Oti and parts of the Eastern regions.
Addressing the chiefs and people of Nyagbo Sroe in the Afadzato South district, where a test drone delivery was received, Dr. said the event was another giant step towards the overall improvement of healthcare delivery in the country.
The community – 750 metres above sea level, was specifically chosen because “we want to have a feel of how the Zipline technology is able to directly deliver to the last mile, making way for the equitable distribution of medical supplies to all parts of the country,” the Vice President said.
He disclosed that, though the project met a lot of skepticism, with perseverance, the country has moved from a single distribution centre to five more distribution centres, delivering medical supplies to over 2000 health facilities and saving millions of lives.
“My understanding is that close to 1 million COVID-19 vaccines, as well as 4 million routine vaccines, have so far been distributed by Zipline to many health facilities across the country. This is no doubt the contributing factor, for which reason we have not experienced massive expiries of the vaccines as happened in many other countries”, he said.
According to the Vice President, Ghana is the only country in the world to use drones to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to dozens of centres with the hope of ensuring that all citizens get the opportunity to be vaccinated. As a result, the “Covid-19 case as of yesterday was only 79.”
He further noted that one of the features of the Zipline centres is their storage facilities, as Ghana was one of the five countries in Africa to receive the Pfizer vaccine because of the storage temperature required.
He further added that the health sector remains an essential part of shaping the economic growth of the country, and that “how we are able to improve life expectancy and keep a nation healthy to increase our workforce, drive economic growth, development and prosperity requires a lot of health investments” and cautioned all to desist from incessant politicisation on issues pertaining to the health of citizens.
The General Manager of Zipline Ghana, Madam Naa Yawson, noted that since the first distribution center was commissioned in April, 2019, over 1.7 million medical commodities, including essential medicines and vaccines, have been distributed to over 2300 health facilities across 147 districts in 13 regions. Approximately 60 percent of these health facilities are mostly health centres and CHPS compounds are located in rural and some of the hardest to reach areas in Ghana.
She noted the two new centers will serve about 70 percent of the Volta region, 95 percent of Oti and all the hard-to-reach communities along the Volta Lake and Afram Plains. Furthermore, close to two hundred thousand units of critical medical products from the Anum and Kete Krachi sites have already been distributed since operations commenced in December last year.
Torgbe Owusu, representing the Paramount Chief of the Nyagbo Traditional Area, Torgbui Ashui Nyagasi V, welcomed the drone service and noted the Zipline technology will save the lives of Nyagbo Sroe and its adjourning communities, but called on the government to fast track the road’s construction for easy assessment of the Nyagbo communities.
In April 2019, President Akufo-Addo announced the opening of a Zipline distribution center in Ghana. The distribution centers opened earlier include Omenako in the Eastern region, Mpanya in the Ashanti region, Sefwi Wiawso in the Western North region, and Vobsi near Walewale in the North East region.