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How Drones Are Turning Out to Be a Key Tool for Transporting COVID-19 Tests in Ghana

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Global Citizen’s Lerato Mogoatlhe explores how drones are playing a vital role in the fight of COVID-19 in Ghana, where previously, it could have taken up to six hours to transport tests by road.

In Ghana, a health care logistics company called Zipline is using drones to transport COVID-19 test samples from areas that don’t have testing facilities to laboratories in Accra and Kumasi, the country’s biggest cities.

This is the first time that drones have been used to deliver COVID-19 samples, and return test results back to potential patients. This is also the first time that self-flying drones have been used for long-range deliveries in high-density urban areas.

The tests are requested by health care workers who order medical supplies at a Zipline distribution centre.

Daniel Marfo, general manager of Zipline in Ghana, explained: “Immediately [when] they have a suspected case of COVID, they reach out to Zipline. Using multimodal transportation, we are then able to reach out to them, pick up the samples from them, [go] to our distribution centre, and from our distribution centre, our drone then flies it off to the testing lab.”

Before drones were used to transport samples, they would have to journey by land for up to six hours, according to Time magazine.

Meanwhile in some villages, ambulances had to wait several days in one clinic in order to collect as many tests as possible. The average time drones take to deliver samples and supplies is 30 minutes.

The effort to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak has sparked a shortage of medical supplies, including testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other health care resources globally.

Read more on Global Citizen website

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