Sterling Bank partners Zipline on medical drone delivery service
Sterling Bank’s health technology partner, Zipline, has signed a service level agreement with Kaduna State government for the implementation of drones in the health supply chain system. Zipline, is a global drone delivery service and will use autonomous delivery drones to help transform emergency healthcare and expand access to critical life-saving medications in the State.
Obinna Ukachukwu, divisional head, health and education sector for Sterling Bank Plc, who disclosed this in Kaduna Wednesday during the signing of the partnership’s Memorandum of Understanding said that the delivery services does not only include daily medical supplies such as blood pints and medicines but also includes a plan to use the drones in the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines across the state.
He said the bank is supporting the initiative because health is one the five sectors of the Nigerian economy that the bank has committed to and is consistently seeking to improve. The other sectors are education, agriculture, transportation and renewable energy.
Ukachukwu added that the bank is very proud of the partnership and would be committed to playing its part to deliver on the project, noting that Sterling Bank is playing advisory and business development roles. He also noted that this is the first implementation of this service in Nigeria, and that there are ongoing discussions with other states to adopt the service.
Speaking on the ground breaking initiative, Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai said, “Kaduna State has one of the best healthcare systems in Nigeria. But while we celebrate our successes, we must also recognize that we have much more work to do to create universal access to critical healthcare for all.”
According to him, “This is especially true when it comes to making sure that millions of people in the state have safe and timely access to the best Covid-19 vaccines available. This new emergency drone delivery service is a great solution to deliver vaccines, blood and other lifesaving products instantly when time is of essence. It will help ensure that millions of people in Kaduna State will always get the care they need.”
Also speaking during the event, Daniel Marfo, senior vice president at Zipline, stated that where people live should not determine whether or not they get access to medical supplies like the Covid-19 vaccine, noting that rural areas across the world are being hit hard by the virus.
“These communities face great challenges. That is why I am so proud of our partnership with Sterling Bank and Kaduna State. We can help health systems in Nigeria bypass the need for huge investments in ultra-low temperature infrastructure and increase Covid-19 vaccine access for millions through our drone delivery services and cold chain infrastructures and logistic capabilities. But this system is capable of so much more. It will also assist with the delivery of routine, critical and emergency medicines to hard-to-reach areas when they need them the most,” Marfo said.
He hinted that Zipline had built an end-to-end, cold chain distribution capability that allows it to safely deliver frozen and ultra-low Covid-19 vaccines and medical products.