USTDA, Zipline Partner to expand West African Healthcare access through drone technology 

By Stanley Senya

Accra, Nov. 23, GNA – The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded a grant to Global Instant logistics service company, Zipline, for a feasibility study to expand healthcare access in Ghana and Nigeria using unmanned aerial vehicles. 

The study will facilitate Zipline’s goal of expanding its logistics services to make healthcare more accessible and affordable. 

Mr Enoh T. Ebong, USTDA’s Director in a statement issued in Accra and copied to Ghana News Agency, said, “Increasing access to healthcare is critical for West Africa. Our partnership with Zipline demonstrates the role that non-traditional models of healthcare access can play in addressing this need.”   

He said, “USTDA’s support for this project reflects the holistic approach that we are taking toward developing healthcare infrastructure and the important role that private sector companies can play in offering meaningful solutions.” 

Madam Virginia E. Palmer, the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, speaking at the grant signing ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Accra, said the U.S. government was resolved to increase bilateral trade and investment.  

Madam Palmer said: “The U.S is committed to a strong partnership with Ghana that will grow our economies while improving and even saving peoples’ lives.” 

She said the project served as an example of their whole-of-government approach, where USTDA worked closely with the U.S. Departments of Commerce and State, and USAID, to reach the important milestone with Zipline. 

USTDA’s feasibility study will allow Zipline to assess the viability of expanding its healthcare logistics services into new geographic areas and developing new business models to build on its existing delivery systems. 

In addition to healthcare sector benefits, Zipline’s project is anticipated to increase access to e-commerce, postal, and agricultural products, and services in hard-to-reach areas, helping to stimulate local economies and reducing costs and time to access goods and services. 

Mr Daniel Marfo, Zipline’s Senior Vice President, said, “Zipline has transformed the logistics and medical systems in the countries where we operate, helped save lives, and reduced negative environmental impact on the planet.”  

“This grant from USTDA will enable a feasibility study to assess the impact of expanding Zipline’s operations in Nigeria and Ghana so that we can help more communities and healthcare systems have access to critical items when they need it,” he added. 

This project advances a primary pillar of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, which aims to strengthen global health security through investments in patient-centred health services.  

It also supports the U.S. government’s Prosper Africa initiative to increase two-way trade and investment between the U.S. and Africa.