Dozens of eyes look to the sky, to something that looks remotely like a black bird. Women in patterned dresses holding their babies in one Arm, and cheer as the drone roars over their heads and a red package the size of a Shoe box drops.
A nurse in green scrubs, running across the Grass and grabs the package. Since June, the health centre in the small town of Anyinam is supplied in the South of Ghana by drone with drugs. And is thus part of a great Plan.
600 flights per day Drones planned
In Ghana, West Africa, the world’s largest medical drones network is to be created, it was said in the press release for the launch date in April of this year. The logistical management of the Californian company takes over Zipline. The Ghanaian government has approved twelve million dollars for the next four years. Zipline provides the government the cost of flights into account. Also, the delivery of the drugs is still in the hands of the state. “We are the logistics centre,” says Komla Buami, press Secretary of the Zipline.
The Numbers sound impressive: 120 drones are soon to supply around-the-clock for up to 2000 health centers in their catchment area of around twelve million Ghanaians live – almost half of the population. Four drones airports are planned, of which 600 a day flights to start.
So far, however, is only the beginning. Currently, 14 health supplies facilities. About 20 Times a day, the seven drones, which are currently used to health centres and hospitals, and poison with snake start serums Anti to provide blood or polio vaccinations, with frozen Plasma or glucose powder. In total, there are 148 medical products, shipped to order via call, SMS or WhatsApp message with drones.
The new UAV airport is located around 70 kilometers from Ghana’s capital, Accra, located on a hill in a place called Omenako. As in a arrivals hall, the flight data on a digital panel. The 15 or so employees can read, since when a drone is on the way and whether you dropped your load already. In the hall also, the batteries are charged and the bellies of the drones with the drugs from the adjacent warehouse filled.
In the case of emergency, the drone saves important time
The health centre in the small town of Anyinam had ordered this afternoon five rabies vaccinations. “At first I was skeptical,” says Sarah Amyah, who heads the facility. “I thought that we could use other things much more urgent.”
40 kilometres away from the drones the airport to the health centre in Anyinam. Approximately 35 minutes travel time by car – the drone creates it in 20 minutes. Overall, the devices can cover 110 kilometers per hour, they have a range of 180 kilometers.
In a country like Ghana, where many roads are not paved and in the rainy season are flooded, the time savings is a big advantage – if it is medical emergencies. “No one in Ghana should die, because not to get in an emergency, the necessary medicine,” said President Nana Akufo-Addo for the opening of the drone airport in April. In principle, however, many question whether the money for the drones project can not be better invested would have.
Too few Doctors, too few ambulances, too little blood
“For real emergencies, the use of drones may be useful,” says Gameli Aheto, a doctor in the emergency room of the University clinic in Accra, Ghana’s capital. “But vaccinations are usually no emergencies.” With this criticism, Aheto is not alone. Whether in social media or in hospitals: The drone issue is a matter of heated debate. The Ghana medical Association, about called on the government to put the project on ice until it has been tested on a small scale. Criticism: The project could not help to improve the ailing health care system of the country in a sustainable manner.
But Distress prevails in many Places:
- Across the country there are only 55 working ambulance for 29 million people. For comparison: In Germany there are more than 20,500 rescue vehicles, alone in North Rhine-Westphalia, there are more than 4000.
- Doctors in Ghana, far too few: a medical 5555 patients come there – the world health organization (WHO) recommends a ratio of 1:1000.
- In the case of emergency units of blood missing: 2017, more than 160,000 blood donors came together overall. However, only a third of voluntary donors came of it. Two-thirds of the blood is made by the donor directly to relatives who were in distress. In the event of accidents and other acute emergencies however, this is not possible.
A drone project can solve such problems. Critics fear that it fought only in the very short term is a Symptom and other grievances covered. “People don’t see the problems, you will only see the new drones, which are now and medicines to distribute,” says Aheto. “But that’s how you build a stable, sustainable health care system.”
“Priorities in the wrong set”
Recently, 113 students in a high school suffering from acute diarrhea. Within 20 minutes, a drone of 125 parcels a-to-drink solution they came up with. “The medium costs less than 10 cents per Patient, and should be in every school, in every case, but in any hospital, out of stock,” says Aheto. The media celebrated the Zipline to have the students be saved.
Aheto fear, the hospital staff could make use of the drones and the US-provider-dependent and planning, still less to keep an eye on. Because a call is quickly made and then the company brings the package right in front of the hospital doors. You can get used to quickly, however, the Zipline for each flight will be paid for each individual delivery.
“Priorities were set incorrectly,” says Gregory Rockson, the managing Director and founder of mPharma, a startup from Ghana, the inventory and delivery of drugs in pharmacy takes. “I would be in the place of the Ghanaian government, I would not have spent the $ 12 million for transporting the drugs with drones from A to B.” For the classification: In 2016, the equivalent of about 229 million euros were available to the Ghana Health Service for the basic health care of the country responsible, available.
Sarah Amyah, head of the health establishment in Anyinam, not the How. She is thrilled by the efficiency of the drones. “They are reliable and fast, and help us to heal patients.” The voices of the critics: In case of emergency the drug can save via drone people. Rockson hoped, however, that the Ghanaian government does not care in the future, more effective and cheaper, therefore, to close this fundamental gap, “But no one is applauding you, if you are using Vans to transport drugs.”