‘Ghana Is Not Buying Zipline Drones’

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In achieving a Primary Health Care and Universal Health Coverage, there is a need to ensure effective supply of medical products/logisticts, especially essential medicines,and blood pints, to hard-to-reach areas. This will help strengthen the 6 building blocks of the health system to improve coverage, accessibility and quality. These 6 building blocks includes medical products, technology, and few others.

The health system of this country has several challenges, including inaccessibility, shortage of essential medicines and few others. Although maternal mortality rate has reduced. However 30% of mothers who die in labour (maternal mortality) is as a result of bleeding. This would have been the reverse if Ghana has implemented advanced technology to supply blood pints and other medical products to remote areas. Hence the need for Zipline drone project.

The Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Chairman of Health Committee, Parliament, Hon Twum – Nuamah Kwameba, the Deputy Minister of Information, Pius Enam Hadzide, and representatives of the Zipline company held a press conference with the press today at parliament, Accra. 
Facts on the Zipline drone project were presented as below :

The project and its implementation process has taken not less than 6 months…
A committee was set up, comprising of representatives from :
▪Ministry of Health 
▪Ghana Health Service 
▪National Ambulance Service 
▪Civil Aviation 
▪National Security 
▪and other stakeholders

All the above stakeholders sent delegations to Rwanda to assess how the zipline drone implementation is done and how successful the project is. 
Civil Aviation has approved the project and all security factors have been considered. 
National Security has also done their checks and there is no company operationalizing drone medical supply apart from Zipline.
Zipline, a California based company is the only company in this medical drone supply business, in Africa and the world. Hence the “sole sourcing” which the act permits.

The Zipline drone project is performance driven service contract, which is contrary to the mathematical errors some minority MPs and other people were using. 
Based on performance driven means; the zipline company will be paid base on the daily supplies per distribution centre. Hence payment is done base on performance specifications.

This project and its
Zipline drones are here to save lives.

The drones will be controlled by someone.
It flies at about 60km/hr.
Maximum flight speed is about 150km/hr.

Ghana is not procuring any drone. It is only the technological services that we are paying for.

Commodity deliveries are made at distribution centre, which comprises of :
▪Flight operation centre 
▪Health Product Centre 
▪Flight Control Centre 
▪Office and storage

The Zipline contract is for 4 years, and it can be renewed after evaluation.

With Zipline, health commodity orders are fulfilled promptly. The delivery is achieved in 4 simple steps :

Step 1 :
health practitioners place an order for an essential medical product via phone call /SMS/Whatsapp/web form

Step 2:
Zipline pharmacist receive the order and prepares the product for immediately delivery

Step 3:
The product is placed on a drone in as little as 3 minutes

Step 4:
The health facility receives the product in less than one year.

The setting up of the first distribution center will be in Suhum, Eastern Region. 
Ghana is the first in Africa to establish National Health Insurance, we have 4,400 Health Centres and CHPS Compounds, we also have 3 Multi-Regional Warehouses in Progress. When this Zipline project is started, Ghana shall experience high performance indicator for Universal Health Coverage and Primary Health Care.

Facts :

▪30% of maternal deaths has been attributed to bleeding. 
▪Several lives are lost every month to snakebites, that could have been prevented with just timely delivery of anti-snake venom
▪hundreds of health facilities across Ghana are unreachable by road

This drone deliveries will support the Last Mile Distribution (LMD) by filling the gaps and reducing stock-outs between deliveries

Benefits of the Zipline drone in Rwanda…

▪After 2 years, and 13,000 deliveries, Rwanda is quadrupling Zipline’s scope

▪Stockouts has been eliminated; reduced from 89% to 0%

▪Expiries of medical products /logistics ; reduced from 10% to 0.15%

The implementation of the project draws on 6 months intensive research:
▪visiting SDPs
▪collecting data
▪designing our operation
▪and agreeing to Standard Operating Procedures

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) Senior Managers have asked Zipline to stock 148 products :
▪Blood products : 13 products to manage cases to reduce maternal death due to bleeding, anaemia, car accident cases, etc
▪Essential Medicines; 60 – 70 products; anti-snake venom to treat snake bites, management of rabies, poisoning, severe infections, heart attack and asthmatic emergency 
▪Vaccines; 10 products for Yellow Fever, measles and rubella, meningitis A, diphtheria, etc
▪Program commodities; 30 – 40 products for Tuberculosis and HIV /AIDS

During full operations, 
▪14 to 16 million people will be covered 
▪thousands of health facilities will be covered 
▪service will cover the northern and southern part of Ghana 
▪there will be up to 600 flights per day

First distribution center will serve :
▪over 30 hospitals 
▪over 19 maternity homes 
▪over 60 health centers
▪over 13 district hospitals 
▪over 300 CHPS
In total, over 500 health facilities will be served.

The key contract terms :

▪it is a performance -driven structured contract :
MOH bears no risk of installation, operation, maintenance of facilities. MOH pays only when Zipline succeeds in setting up distribution centers and meets the performance specifications agreed as in the Service Agreement

▪term : the contract will run for 4 years and it can be renewed base on evaluation report

▪service fees : $ 88,000 per distribution center per month when fully deployed (when performance specifications are met).
$88,000 / 500 facilities per distribution center = $176 (that is GH¢ 847 per facility served every month.

NB:

Cost for value
▪when Zipline make less than 15 deliveries per distribution center, no money will be paid

▪If Zipline make more than 15 deliveries per distribution center, $ 11,000 will be paid

▪50 deliveries per distribution center will attract $27,000

▪$75 deliveries per distribution center will also attract $59,000

▪The $88,000 amount is only paid in a month when Zipline is able to make more than 100 deliveries per a distribution centre in the previous month

Hence, individuals adding the itemized performance payment to make a case are just misleading the public.

▪Zipline commitment : Zipline guarantees average emergency delivery time of less than 1 hour, at least 150 flights /distribution center per/ and all technical performance characteristics (range, payload, etc)

▪Zipline is required to obtain CAA/national security approvals, comply with health and environmental rules, and obey all Ghana law

▪Zipline will provide an order management platform that will receive orders via SMS, web, etc. Zipline and MOH will train health facility workers on the use of Zipline’s service

Risk mitigation factors to endure safety:
▪Civil Aviation has assessed the project and has given approval (flight of 500 ft above ground has been permitted by the Civil Aviation). 
▪Zipline has no single point of failure, and use similar safety measures to manned aviation (Aircraft design) 
▪No-fly zones around sensitive areas, such as airports, Zips will not fly (No-fly zones) 
▪The company has a robust program to continually improve flight and ground operations and mitigate risks (operations and route design)
▪Zipline will coordinate active flights with ATC and can intervene in real-time if necessary (ATC coordination)

The Zipline drone project, is not only going to save lives of innocent Ghanaians, but also it will create over 200 high-skilled jobs for Ghanaian engineers, aviation experts and pharmacists.

The public is advised to take these facts into consideration and desist from sharing false information.


Douglas Adu-Fokuo
Public Relations Unit
Ghana Health Service
adufokuodouglas@gmail.com

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