Ghana’s Parliament postpones $12m service deal for drone delivery of medical supplies
By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
Ghana’s Parliament has postponed a service agreement between the government of Ghana and Zipline International Incorporated that will witness the use of drones to deliver blood and other health supplies nationwide.
The postponement is also to allow for some regulatory checks to be completed before the agreement is approved by the House.
The Minority in Parliament believes the amount of money involved in the project could have been used to provide healthcare services for persons in deprived communities hence the need for further deliberations by both sides of the house.
Minority Spokesperson on Health, Joseph Yieleh Chireh told the house that Ghana has not yet reached a place where technology drives everything. “The challenges we have in our health system don’t need drones. People are dying not because there are no drones to deliver the medical supplies.They are dying because the supplies aren’t available in the first place,” he said.
Government approved a $12 million contract for the design, installation and operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones with Silicon Valley-based logistics company, Zipline International Incorporated.
Had the contract agreement received approval from the house, Ghana will then be joining Eastern African countries Rwanda and Tanzania in using drones to deliver medicines and other medical supplies to health facilities across the country.
According to reports available to Biztechafrica the signing of the contract with Zipline International Incorporated follows a rigorous back ground check done by the Public Procurement Authority and the National Security Council Secretariat on Zipline International Inc. USA.
On November 16, 2018, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Authority, AB Adjei in a correspondence to the Minister of Health stated, among other things, that “we also noted the rather strong argument put up by the Service Provider to justify their pricing; indicating that the price offered to the Ministry of Health is comparable to prices for similar operations in other jurisdictions.
The Board was of the view that the Ministry and its stakeholders had satisfied themselves that the cost of the project would obtain value for money to inure to the benefit of the state.
A portion of the report from the National Security Council Secretariat regarding the subject reads: “Checks confirmed that Zipline International Inc. USA is a Silicon Valley based Logistics Company that designs, manufactures and operates small robot airplanes (drones) to deliver medical products on demand in harsh terrains.
In the light of the foregoing, the National Security Coordinator Joshua Kyeremeh concluded that “the Secretariat can confirm that Zipline International Inc is a credible entity and has the capability to deliver emergency medical products across Ghana.”