More than two billion people lack adequate access to essential medical products, often due to challenging terrain and gaps in infrastructure. Because of this, over 2.9 million children under age five die every year. And up to 150,000 pregnancy-related deaths could be avoided each year if mothers had reliable access to safe blood. Through a partnership with the Government of Rwanda, San Francisco-based robotics company Zipline will deliver all blood products for twenty hospitals and health centers starting this summer, improving access to healthcare for millions of Rwandans.
The drones resemble small single prop aircraft and are designed to deliver life-saving resources to any area of Western Rwanda within 15-35 minutes, despite the remoteness of the location. So far, the operation makes about 500 deliveries a day. The next step for Zipline is Tanzania with 120 drones and more than 1,000 clinics.