The Medical Superintendent at the New Tafo Government Hospital, Dr Kobina Awotwe Wiredu, has described the Zipline drone technology system being introduced into the country’s healthcare system as a game changer.
Dr. Wiredu was speaking to journalists who toured the drop zone at the hospital where vaccines would be delivered by drones.
He said the maternal and child health indicators would see a significant improvement once the whole country is covered by the drone services.
“With regards to the distribution centre or zones, the whole country would be covered. Once the whole country is covered with this drone technology, I am very optimistic that we would have a great improvement in our maternal and child health indicators,” he said.
The Acting Municipal Director of Health Services at the East Akim Municipal District, Kojo Owusu Ansah believes the drone technology will not replace the existing supply chain, but rather, fill the emergency and patient communication gaps in Ghana’s health system.
“Let’s put on record that this is not coming to replace the existing supply chain that we have. We take our donation from the regional cold room. But there are times we run short of certain vaccines and when it happens you cannot deny the child the rest of the vaccine, so this initiative is going to fill that gap,” he said.
Parliament on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, passed the Services agreement between Flyzipline and government for the use of drone technology to supply emergency medical supplies by a vote of 102-58.
The service agreement has been the subject of a tussle in the House, with the Minority describing it as a misplaced priority while the government believes it is a step in the right direction.
Minority opposes deal
The Minority in Parliament consistently criticized the agreement describing it as a rip-off.
It also said operating the services will cost the state $145,000 dollars monthly at each distribution centre.
Policy think tank, IMANI Africa, also called for a review of the deal and noted that flying blood and other essential medical supplies via drone technology will not do much to bolster the country’s health sector.
The Ghana Medical Association also called on the government to suspend the deal because it does not fit into the country’s existing healthcare policy.
President Nana Akufo-Addo is expected to launch the drone delivery services tomorrow, Thursday.