In a significant leap toward healthcare accessibility in rural Cross River, the utilization of drone technology has proven instrumental in bridging vaccination gaps, according to Mr Augustine Okutu, the Community Health Officer at Ijiraga Community Primary Healthcare Centre in Yala Local Government Area NEGROIDHAVEN has confirmed.
During a recent visit by journalists to assess the effectiveness of Zipline’s drone delivery system in the delivery of vaccines, drugs, and medical consumables, Okutu highlighted the transformative impact of this cutting-edge technology.
Zipline, renowned as one of the world’s largest autonomous delivery systems specializing in on-demand drone delivery, has collaborated with the Cross River government. The partnership aims to facilitate the government’s mandate of providing healthcare access to rural dwellers, with a facility in Nduk, Ogoja LGA.
According to Okutu, the drone system has not only reduced the need for extensive advocacy on vaccination and immunization but has also sparked an increased demand for these services in rural areas.
“The dramatic way in which the drones drop the vaccines from the sky is a source of advert for us; the people believe the vaccines and drugs dropping from the sky are more sophisticated,” Okutu explained.
He further emphasized that the use of drone technology has significantly curtailed costs associated with sourcing drugs and medical supplies, and the people now trust that items delivered by drones come from reliable sources, eliminating concerns about fake or expired drugs.
Similarly, Mr Raphael Obok, Focal Person for the Primary Healthcare Centre in Nfuma, Yala LGA, shared that vaccination responses have surged as individuals willingly present themselves for vaccination.
“With the drone technology, we no longer travel to get or store drugs and vaccines. From the comfort of our facility, we just call or text Zipline, and in a matter of minutes, we get what we need through a drone delivery,” Obok stated.
Dr. Henry Ayuk, Cross River’s Commissioner for Health, commended Zipline for its commendable contribution to healthcare delivery in the state. He revealed that plans were underway to establish another Zipline facility in Akamkpa, Local Government Area, to service the Southern Senatorial District.