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Ayade signs MoU with drones company for medical supply

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By Joseph Kingston, Calabar

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an American drone delivery company, Zipline, to deploy the digital technology to hard-to-reach areas of the state.

Speaking, Monday, during the MoU signing ceremony in Calabar, the governor said “in 90 days, we will start the delivery of essential drugs to hard-to-reach areas facilitated by drone delivery systems.”

Assuring Zipline officials of necessary support to carry out their assignment, the governor added: “I want to thank the entire team. I want to thank you for your commitment to this course and we are here to provide you all the necessary support to see that you start on a strong footing.”

He expressed optimism that, going forward, Zipline would be a major stakeholder in quality healthcare delivery in the state, especially when the state-owned pharmaceutical company, Calapharm, starts running.

“When our pharmaceutical company starts running, it will be a major producer of most of these drugs and we believe that your expertise will really be needed around that area since your delivery time is just about 30 minutes.

“We have to have them across the three Senatorial districts to guarantee that from the point of dispatch to the point of delivery, we should be able to do 30 minutes per package”, Ayade quipped.

Zipline’s senior vice president, Daniel Marfo, in his speech, commended Governor Ayade’s strides in the health sector and pledged his company’s commitment to sustaining the tempo.

“We are most pleased with your dynamic vision of ensuring that Cross River state leapfrogs the tradition and the norms and by taking a step to the future,” Marfo told the governor.

Earlier, the state commissioner for health, Dr Betta Edu, described the drone delivery system as a game changer “in ensuring that medical supplies, drugs, vaccines can be delivered to health centres real-time and in the shortest possible time so that people can get help when they need it.”

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