Ghana Parliament approves Zipline drone deal
By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
Ghana’s parliament, by majority head count, has voted to approve an agreement between the Republic of Ghana, represented by the Ministry of Health, and Fly Zipline Ghana Limited, for drone distribution of emergency health and blood products to remote parts of the country.
With a majority vote of 102 against 58 polled from the minority, the government through the ministry of health will be using drones to fly in the country’s airspace.
The approval of the US$12,527,000.00 service agreement between the Government and Fly Zipline Ghana Limited come against stiff opposition from the minority group in parliament, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and IMANI Africa.
While the Ghana Medical Association debates that the deal in its current form does not fit into the country’s existing healthcare policy and that most of the facilities expected to take delivery of essential medicines and blood may not necessarily be equipped or mandated to administer some drugs and transfuse blood, the Minority caucus in parliament also contend that the deal falls short of the national interest. Policy think tank, IMANI Africa, also called for a review of the service agreement and noted that flying blood and other essential medical supplies via drone technology will not do much to bolster the country’s health sector.
With the house approving the government contract agreement with Zipline, Ghana now joins Eastern African countries Rwanda and Tanzania in using drones to deliver medicines and other medical supplies to health facilities across the country.