Drones are coming: Maharashtra govt ties up with Zipline to deliver medicines

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Updated: September 17, 2019 1:18:42 PM

It is part of the state government’s vision of using drone delivery to establish universal, seven-days-a-week access to life-saving and critical medicines for each of its 120 million citizens over the coming years.

Zipline drones will make on-demand and emergency deliveries of blood products, vaccines and life-saving medications.

The Maharashtra government on Monday announced a partnership with US firm Zipline to use autonomous delivery drones to deliver emergency medicines and critical care across the state. The initiative will be supported through a grant system from Serum Institute of India (SII).

The new service is expected to begin operations in early 2020. It is part of the state government’s vision of using drone delivery to establish universal, seven-days-a-week access to life-saving and critical medicines for each of its 120 million citizens over the coming years. Zipline drones will make on-demand and emergency deliveries of blood products, vaccines and life-saving medications.

Zipline will establish a total of 10 distribution centres across Maharashtra in phases over the next several years. In the first phase of operations, two distribution centres located near Pune and Nandurbar will be established to service public health facilities in those regions beginning in early 2020. The operations in Pune and Nandurbar will be financed through a grant from SII. Future distribution centres will be financed by the Maharashtra government and other private and philanthropic partners.

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fandavis said, “Maharashtra has one of the best healthcare systems in India, but while we celebrate our successes, we must also recognise that we have much more work to do to create universal access to critical healthcare for all.” Talking about the partnership, Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo said: “We’re proud to partner with the government of Maharashtra and the Serum Institute of India to ensure that millions of people have on-demand, instant access to the blood, vaccines and critical medicines they need to stay healthy and alive.”

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