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DHL delivering vital medicines by drone

Posted 29 August 2019 · Add Comment

Ukerewe District, an isolated island located on Lake Victoria in Tanzania, has been receiving regular deliveries of essential medicines by drone.

Recent years have seen many initiatives to ensure the delivery of vital medicines by drones in remote, landlocked and inaccessible areas throughout Africa.
In 2016, the ‘redline project’ was launched in Rwanda allowing the delivery of blood supplies and medicines to hospitals. Now German logistics giant, DHL, (a subsidiary of Deutsche Post) has joined this revolution through its ‘delivering future’ initiative.
DHL has been operating in Tanzania in partnership with Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the German drone maker, Wingcopter.
“The main challenge was that the 400,000 inhabitants of Ukerewe Island had very limited medical care. It was almost impossible to provide emergency medicines or to re-supply refrigerated products including vaccines,” explained DHL’s Alexander Edenhofer.
DHL, GIZ and Wingcopter have been working on their ‘Parcelcopter’ project since 2013. Deliveries are made by their latest generation drone, the Parcelcopter 4.0. It takes off and lands vertically; flies at up to 130kmh; travels up to 65km and carries a payload of 4kg. The drone takes an average of 40 minutes to cover the 60km to Ukerewe… a huge reduction over travel by road and ferry that takes many hours.

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