Access to vital health products, in India and around the world, is hampered by the last mile problem: the difficulty of matching the supply of medicine from central storage to the demand at urban and rural health facilities All too often, people requiring lifesaving care do not get the medicine they need when they need it.
The Government of Maharashtra and Zipline, the world’s first and only national scale drone delivery service, have announced a partnership to use a logistics network of autonomous delivery drones to help transform emergency medicine and critical care in one of India’s most populous and dynamic states. The launch of this ground-breaking initiative will be supported through a grant from SII (Serum Institute of India), the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world.
The revolutionary new service, which is expected to launch operations in early 2020, is part of Government of Maharashtra’s bold vision of using drone delivery to establish universal, seven-days-a-week access to lifesaving and critical medicines for each of its 120 million citizens over the coming years. Zipline drones will make on-demand and emergency deliveries of blood products, vaccines and life-saving medications.
The Government of Maharashtra’s vision is for Zipline to establish a total of 10 Distribution centres across Maharashtra in phases over the next several years. The government’s goal is to put almost all of its 120 million citizens within minutes of a lifesaving medical delivery by drone. In the first phase of operations, two distribution centres located near Pune and Nandurbar will be established to serve public health facilities in those regions beginning in early 2020.
The operations in Pune and Nandurbar will be financed through a grant from SII. Future distribution centres will be financed by the Government of Maharashtra and other private and philanthropic partners.
“Maharashtra has one of the best health care systems in India. But while we celebrate our successes, we must also recognize that we have much more work to do to create universal access to critical healthcare for all,” said Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. “This new emergency drone delivery service is a great solution to deliver vaccines, blood and other lifesaving products instantly when time is of the essence. It will help ensure that millions of people in Maharashtra will always get the care they need.”
“Millions of people across the world die each year because they can’t get the medicine they need when they need it,” said Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo. “Instant drone delivery can help solve that problem. We’re proud to partner with the Government of Maharashtra and The Serum Institute of India to ensure that millions of people have on-demand, instant access to the blood, vaccines and critical medicines they need to stay healthy and alive.”