Kaduna State has taken a major revolutionary step towards reversing the losses to COVID-19, which has cost the state 57 lives, as at Saturday.
According to statistics from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), 7,804 persons have been infected with the virus in the state.
While 7,467 persons were treated and discharged, 280 cases are on admission. But the state government has signed a first-of-its-kind innovatory Memorandum of Understanding with a private medical firm to deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), better known as, drone technology to deliver vaccines and other medical supplies to areas that may be difficult to penetrate due to challenging topography and bad roads.
This method of procurement and distribution of vaccines and medications is a novelty in Nigeria pioneered by the Kaduna State Government.
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Other states are reportedly negotiating with the company to enter a similar working relationship. The clamour for the company’s services is influenced by the success rate of the medical delivery firm, Zipline, which has the distinction of having delivered more than one million doses of other vaccines in Africa over the past year.
The novel delivery of vaccines and other drugs in Kaduna is planned to start in the second quarter with 30 drones working full time from three distribution centres. To accomplish this goal, Governor Nasir el-Rufai said the state government has upgraded 255 primary health centres, installed a pharma-grade warehouse and is recruiting and training 3,000 officers to manage the facilities.
The working relationship between the state government and Zipline will help the state to overcome the challenge of cold-chain storage, while allowing drone shipment of COVID-19 vaccines.
According to el-Rufai, “it will help to ensure that millions of people in Kaduna State will always get the care they need.”
The governor said the deployment of drone technology will ensure that medical consumables will be delivered to many parts of the state facing security challenges and a bad road network.
The collaboration between Kaduna and Zipline follows a similar partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) Nigeria which last year supported the screening of 2306 persons for COVID-19 and 2506 persons for Tuberculosis (TB), using Chest X-Ray, and GeneXpert machine through mobile testing in Kaduna State communities.