The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Monday inaugurated the Zipline Medical Service delivery centres at Anum in the Eastern Region and Kete Krachi in the Oti Region.
Under the Zipline arrangement, drones will deliver medications, blood, anti-snake venoms, malaria drugs, and vaccines to about 500 health facilities in the Volta, Oti and Eastern Regions, within some 30 minutes after orders are placed with the delivery centres.
The main inaugural ceremony took place at Nyagbo-Sroe, a forest community, which is located at a height of 750 metres above sea level, in the Afadzato South District of the Volta Region.
There were two swift drone deliveries at the inaugural durbar at Nyagbo-Sroe, prompting euphoria among the crowd.
Dr Bawumia said the drone initiative was a bold and giant step in the overall improvement in health care in Ghana.
“The huge successes in the initiative have also proved the skeptics wrong,” he added.
The Vice President noted that the speedy delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to various health facilities by drones had contributed largely to the significant decline in cases of the virus, saying it was time Ghanaians stopped playing politics with their health.
“As at yesterday [Sunday] there were only 79 cases of coronavirus in the country,” Dr Bawumia revealed.
However, he said, COVID-19 was still an unpleasant tale for the nation, and so he entreated all and sundry continue to observe the safety protocols at all times.
The Vice President pointed out that shaping the economy relied heavily on the health sector, as other sector also depended on investments in health.
For that matter, the government would continue to invest in the health delivery system and make quality care delivery accessible to every part of the country, he maintained.
Dr Bawumia said Ghana now had the largest drone delivery system in the world, which had created 300 highly qualified jobs.
“Furthermore, all the six drone delivery centres are all manned by Ghanaians,” he said.
The Vice President urged communities to embrace the Zipline delivery, saying the technology was designed principally to reach out health facilities in the remote areas in a very short time.
The General Manager of Zipline, Naa Adorkor Yawson said the drone initiative which took off in 2019, reduced patients’ waiting time at health facilities drastically just by the touch of a button.
Since its inception, drones had delivered 1.7million medical commodities to 2,300 health facilities in 47 districts in in 13 regions, she revealed.
Naa Yawson paid tribute to traditional rulers for their support for the initiative and said the prospect of drone deliveries was high bright.
The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kumah Aboagye said drone deliveries bridged the gap between rural and remote communities in terms of access to healthcare and that underlined its importance in the overall health delivery system.
While implementing that initiative, he said, the government would continue to make reforms with other areas of healthcare delivery.
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, in a speech read on his behalf, gave an assurance that the ministry was firm in its stance to build a robust and resilient healthcare system to provide prompt and quality service to the public, and ready to work with all stakeholders to achieve that objective.
The Chief of Nyagbo-Sroe, Ekusi Owusu IX said drone deliveries were a great relief to people in rural communities who now received their medications without travelling to the urban centres.
Later in the day, the Vice President left Nyagbo-Sroe for the drone delivery station at Anum to perform the tape-cutting ceremony to signify the formal commencement of operations by the centre.