By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar

In his effort to bring health care delivery closer to the doorsteps of residents of the state and those residing in the hinterland, the Cross River State governor, Prof Ben Ayade, has commissioned Zipline Drone Distribution Centre, a drone-powered instant drugs logistic delivery service centre.

Commissioning the centre at Ndok, in Ogoja Local Government Area, on Tuesday, while on a campaign trail of the Northern senatorial district, Governor Ayade said that the establishment of Zipline drugs logistic centre was part of his administration’s initiative to reduce mortality, particularly in hard-to reach areas of the state.

Stressing the idea behind the project, Ayade, in company of his wife, Dr. Linda Ayade, his deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, the Cross River State All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate, Prince Bassey Edet Otu, his running mate, Pete Odey, as well as other candidates of the party, noted, “In other to have optimum value for our pharmaceutical factory, we needed to partner with Zipline for the major supply of our drugs. Zipline’s core business is essential supply of drugs and logistics services.”

Speaking on the benefits of the drone distribution centre, the governor further hinted that “this particular center in Ogoja will be serving over 300 health centers. Our primary healthcare structure will therefore reinvigorate and answer to all challenges of our people.”

The centre, which Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, was signed in 2021 between the Cross River State government and Zipline, is a structure that will provide a fast and catalytic relationship between the state government’s health insurance agency code-named AyadeCare and Zipline company.

The governor noted that as part of the synergy, “Zipline therefore will be our logistics consultant to receive drugs for our supply chains.

“So Zipline will deliver drugs to our primary health centers and other sensitive localities and even private health centers.

“Accordingly, Zipline will provide all support systems to deliver quality drugs which will pass the quality control systems.

“With Zipline, a journey that would have taken more than eight hours to deliver sensitive items like drugs, can now be delivered in 30 minutes. We have moved a little from water and drone to the air delivery system.

“I want to use this opportunity to tell Cross Riverians that this is one of the beautiful things our administration has brought. This is a clear difference from a bimodal system to a digital matter.”

The governor assured of government’s support to Zipline, adding that “Cross River State government will stand by you and provide a shoulder for you to lean on.

“We are ready to support you financially and provide drugs for you to continue to provide logistics support services so that you can save the lives of our citizens.

“For instance, if an Ndok man suffers a snake bite in the farm, with just a call across to a dedicated line, a drone will locate you using global satellite positioning. The drone can then geo-locate on absolute precision, which has a 99.9 percent accuracy.”

Speaking earlier, the state Commissioner for Health, Mrs. Janet Ekpeyong, had disclosed that the commissioning of the centre was an outcome of a mandate by the governor to her and her predecessor to understudy similar feats in Ghana.

She thanked Ayade for his vision, which she noted had berthed the drugs delivery centre.

Similarly, the General Manager of Zipline Nigeria Limited, Mrs Catherine Obiaze, said her company has brought a unique and cutting edge technology that will deliver real time, on time delivery of drugs to areas hitherto inaccessible. She thanked Ayade and the Cross River State government for the partnership, adding that the project had a hundred percent local content in terms of engineers behind the scheme.

Late Mrs Josephine Alo Inuyashi Burial


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