Rwanda turns to drones to deliver vital blood supplies

Rwanda launches drone delivery programme to transport medical products to remote parts of the country.

    Rwanda has launched a drone delivery network to transport vital blood supplies to far-flung areas of the country.

    The project will see unmanned aerial vehicles or drones used to deliver small packages by parachute, bypassing traffic or washed-out roads in a country dubbed the Land of a Thousand Hills.

     

    It was introduced on Friday in Rwanda's Muhanga district, but is expected to expand to the rest of the country by early 2017.

    On demand, the drones are expected to make around 150 deliveries of  blood to 21 facilities each day, according to Zipline, the company behind the project.

    Health professionals can order the emergency packages by text message and deliveries will be made in approximately 30 minutes, officials said.

    Speaking at the launch, President Paul Kagame said the use of commercial drones to transport essential medical products ought to be considered a milestone for Rwanda.

    "Technology becomes relevant and meaningful when it works for people and addresses challenges they face," Kagame said.

    The drones are shaped like a fat-bellied miniature plane with a two-metre wingspan.

    They are battery-powered with a range of about 150km, weigh 13kg and can carry a cargo of about 1.5kg, or three bags of blood. 

    The drones are fired into the air using a catapult and deliveries are made using a biodegradable parachute.

    Rwanda has a population of around 11 million people, a majority of whom live in hard-to-reach rural areas. Despite making economic gains in the past decade, most of its citizens are still poor.

    The Ziplines can carry vaccines, medicine, or blood to destinations within 30 minutes [Zipline]

    SOURCE: News Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.