Zipline Ghana, has begun delivering of Covid-19 test samples in the country’s two largest cities — Accra, the nation’s capital, and Kumasi, the country’s second-largest city.
The service began Friday, when 51 test samples were collected from patients at rural health facilities and transported to the company’s distribution centre in Omenako, Ghana.
Over the course of four separate flights, the company delivered those 51 samples to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra for testing and analysis.
The company will also be delivering Covid-19 test samples collected at regional hospitals near its Mapong distribution center to the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research.
The first such delivery took place on Saturday, April 18.
The company said it expects to operate this new daily service for the duration of the government’s Covid-19 response efforts, marking the first time in history that autonomous drones have been used to make regular long-range deliveries into densely populated urban areas.
It is also the first time that drones have been used in this way to deliver Covid-19 test samples. The new delivery service allows the government to more closely monitor and respond to the spread of the disease in some of the countries most remote areas.
“Zipline is dedicated to helping Ghana in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic,” said CEO Keller Rinaudo. “Using contactless drone delivery to transport Covid-19 test samples will allow the government to respond to the pandemic and help save lives more quickly.”