Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state’s leadership was instrumental in the entry of Zipline to Nigeria, the Senior Vice President of Zipline in Africa, Mr Daniel Marfor has disclosed.
Marfor who made this known at the commissioning of Zipline’s operations in Pambegua, Kaduna state, further said that the facility ‘’has the capacity to house hundreds of healthcare products, including medicines, routine vaccines, and COVID-19 vaccines.’’
He further said that his company’s drone service technology will cover more than 46,000 square kilometers and serve over eight million people in Kaduna state when all the three distribution centres are working.
Speaking at the event, Governor El-Rufai explained that the Kaduna State Government considered Zipline’s technology of distributing medical supplies by drones as innovative and in alignment with Kaduna state’s efforts to transform its health system.
The governor argued that by enabling the distribution of needed medical commodities to health facilities, the technology helps to save lives, reduce expense on inventory and warehousing, avoid stockouts and waste from the expiration of unutilised inventory.
El-Rufai recalled that the partnership between the Kaduna State Government and Zipline was signed on 3rd February 2021, expecting operations to commence before the end of 2021.
‘’The take-off has taken longer than envisaged. But we are excited to achieve this milestone in our health systems transformation programme and we look forward to its effective implementation in the service of our people,’’ he said.
According to the governor, ‘’navigating regulatory requirements has proven to be challenging, prolonging the take-off of this project. Yet, we believe that as a country, we should be swifter in enabling and adopting innovation.’’
El-Rufai then called on the relevant aviation authorities to give their full support to this innovative technology.
The governor further assured Zipline of government’s commitment to the success of the project, adding that ‘’we welcome the jobs and the new technology, and we look forward to it contributing to better health outcomes in Kaduna state.’’
According to him, the instant delivery of medical supplies by drones ‘’will help to advance our governance agenda to improve the access of our people to decent health services.’’
The governor disclosed that his administration has ‘’ tried to improve and expand health infrastructure, hire more medical personnel, and provide equipment.’’
El-Rufai reiterated that ‘’over the last seven years, we have strengthened the capacity of our primary health care system to deliver better services.’’
‘’Through legislation, we placed the administration of the primary health system under one roof, to ensure that their operations are standardised irrespective of where they are located.
‘’We also implemented a programme to renovate and equip 255 primary health centres, one in each political ward,’’ he pointed out, adding that ‘’several secondary health facilities have also received new equipment and more medical personnel.’’
He said that investments in tertiary health facilities ‘’have earned our Barau Dikko Hospital accredited teaching hospital status, even as we push to complete the 300-bed hospital.’’
El-Rufai also said that ‘’reforms in the health sector include the implementation of a supply chain transformation programme.’’
‘’At the heart of this is the Kaduna State Health Supplies Management Agency (KADSHMA) which is the agency responsible for ensuring that our health facilities get the medicines, consumables, and vaccines they need,’’ he added.