Ghana has become the first country in the world to boost her fight against the novel coronavirus with the use of drone technology which makes speeds up the testing.
Time.com reports that no other nation in the world has been able to deploy drones to help transport samples for testing, especially from remote areas, as everyone else depends on the use of traditional transportation methods.
According to Keller Rinaudo, the CEO of Zipline, the company that set up the ‘matternet’ of drones in Ghana, the US is expected to be the next in the use of the drones after Ghana.
— Zipline Ghana (@ZiplineGhana) April 20, 2020
However, Keller Rinaudo adds that although the company eventually plans to put its technology into use in the United States, it is focused right now on the program in Ghana, according to Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo.
Ghana started using the drones to aid the fight against COVID-19 on April 17, 2020, when Bismark Sarkodie, a Municipal Director of Health Services in the Eastern Region, needed to test 244 construction workers after three of them tested positive for COVID-19.
Instead of driving for two hours to the nearest testing centre in Accra called the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Bismark rather dropped the test swaps off at a health facility in a nearby district where it was transported to the centre via drones.
The test swabs were simply packaged with ice in specially designed bio-safe containers, fitted with a parachute, and placed into the bellies of the drones. Within a few minutes, the test swabs were winging their way to a testing facility via an autonomous drone.
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the medical drones were contracted for use to distribute medical supplies like drugs particularly to remote areas during certain emergency situations.
After realizing how efficient and effective the use of the drone technology was in transporting the samples, Bismark Sarkodie noted its relevance in the fight against COVID-19 with the words: “Testing is the most important thing, and whatever it takes to make it faster, makes it better.”
It is reported that Zipline’s fleet in Ghana is equipped to transport up to 15,000 tests a day, in 300 flights, from their two collection points — though Ghanaians are hoping demand will never reach that point.
Currently, Ghana has recorded 1154 cases of COVID-19 with 120 full recoveries and nine deaths. A total of 68591 tests have been conducted so far, out of which the 1154 people representing 1.68% were found to be positive.