Zipline Drones of Rwanda

Drones have had a global outreach in the past decade. They have evolved from mere flying toys to strong tools which power various professions. Some drones are also instrumental in changing the way people live in remote areas. A drone company called Zipline, based in California, operates drone delivery systems to send urgent medical aid like blood, vaccines or medicines to people in need irrespective of where they live. They also have their drone delivery setup in Rwanda in the town of Muhanga a province in the south of Rwanda 45 Kilometers away from the capital city Kigali.

Remote stretches of Rwanda
Remote stretches of Rwanda

Several remote villages in Rwanda do not have modern infrastructure or decent roads. This inhibits them from accessing basic medical needs. Zipline drones are drastically changing this norm and are supplying aid at the right time. Zipline has made a successful start by saving and helping thousands of citizens. The records tell that these drones have delivered more than 1,400 medical supplies across 12 hospitals in different regions of the country. In addition, the drones have given over 5,500 units of blood to citizens in need. Zipline’s services could transform the medical sector of East Africa completely. The company has also started its services in Kenya.

Zipline's reach in Rwanda
Zipline’s reach in Rwanda

The CEO of Zipline explained, “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. 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.”

Alice Mutimutuje, a resident of Rwanda, shared her experience with the Zipline drones and how they saved her life, “I used to see the drones fly and think ‘they must be mad’ until the same drone brought me blood and saved my life.”

Zipline is not only supplying aid to those in need but is also providing jobs for people in sectors of engineering, technology and medicine. This is also helping the underdeveloped areas battle unemployment.

Nizeyimana Abdoul Salam, is the drone operator who launches the drones towards different hospitals to supply units of blood. He is one of the first people to work for Zipline in Rwanda. As soon as he gets an order for blood, another person prepares the package while Abdoul assembles the drone aircraft and then seals in the package. Within seconds the drone is launched. This drone is fitted with many sensors and is guided by a satellite to reach its destination. Zipline drones can deliver packages as far as 75km.

Abdoul, the Drone Operator
Abdoul, the Drone Operator

Watch how Abdoul saves lives with the help of Zipline drones: