'Uber For Blood' Has Slashed Delivery Time Of Life-Saving Medicine To Rwandan Hospitals From 4 Hours To 30 Minutes

January 3, 2018

A robotics company has teamed up with the Rwandan health ministry to help deliver medicines to hospitals in remote areas of the country.

uber for blood drone service
Credit: James Akena / Reuters

Known as "Uber for blood", the drone delivery service has cut the delivery time of life-saving medicine to remote regions of Rwanda from four hours to an average of half an hour, The Guardian reports.

A partnership between Zipline delivery service, a Silicon Valley robotics company, and the Rwanda's health ministry delivered more than 5,500 units of blood to 12 regional hospitals in 2017, often in life-saving situations.

Doctors simply send a WhatsApp message to Zipline and they are sent a confirmation message saying a Zip drone is on its way. When the drone is within a minute of the destination, the doctor receives a text.

The drone then drops the package, attached to a parachute, into a special zone near the clinic.

uber for blood drone service
Credit: Stephanie Aglietti / Getty Images

Zipline plans to work with the government of Tanzania next to launch what it claims is the world's largest drone delivery network.

Keller Rinaudo, Zipline's co-founder and chief executive officer, said the move will make east Africa a world leader in drone logistics.

"Some of the biggest, most powerful technology companies in the world are still trying to figure out how to do this. But east Africa is showing them all the way," Rinaudo said. "The work in Rwanda has shown the world what's possible when you make a national commitment to expand healthcare access with drones and help save lives."

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