Where We Fly
Transforming health access in Ivory Coast
Team Zipline
December 4, 2021

How Ivory Coast is building more resilient, accessible healthcare with instant logistics

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has prompted countries worldwide to reexamine their healthcare systems, taking a critical look at what needs to be better.

Systems that weren’t perfect but were holding up pre-pandemic are now under the microscope, and organizations are turning to technology to make necessary improvements to patient access and care. South Korea launched a quarantine app & disinfecting drones. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made it easier for providers to lean into telehealth services. Our partners in North Carolina, Rwanda and Ghana leveraged our autonomous aircraft to deliver PPE, cancer medications, COVID-19 vaccines and more.

As the pandemic persists, governments and other major global organizations are faced with a twofold challenge: how to continue to meet the pressing challenges presented by vaccine distribution and new variants, while also building more effective, more resilient systems to meet future problems.

As leaders continue to grapple with this challenge, the need to establish 21st century logistics systems is emerging front and center. We’ve seen in the global vaccination effort that the right supplies (medications, vaccines, equipment, etc.) are of little use if governments and other organizations are unable to reach the people who need them most. In our own conversations, we’re seeing a fresh urgency around modernizing logistics to more effectively meet these healthcare challenges.

This week, Ivory Coast, an economic powerhouse in western Africa, became the latest country to turn to Zipline’s instant logistics to strengthen its healthcare system. The country has already upped its investment in healthcare to drive better outcomes for its residents; in 2021, healthcare spending is expected to hit $2.3 billion, up from $1.8 billion in 2016. Now, The Ministry of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Coverage has announced a partnership to transport medical supplies nationwide through Zipline’s automated, on-demand delivery service.

Zipline’s Africa Go-To-Market Director, Israel Bimpe, with Pierre N’gou Dimba, Minister of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Healthcare, Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast has a ratio of one doctor per 6,000 inhabitants — falling below the continent’s average, which clocks in significantly under the U.S. ratio of one doctor to about every 384 patients. This disparity results in significant challenges accessing medical care for many people across the country. In rural communities in particular, many people lack access to medical specialties like radiotherapy or obstetrics, and also lack vehicles to support blood, medicines and other necessary health product deliveries. Now, healthcare facilities will have the ability to receive supplies on-demand in approximately thirty minutes, ensuring they can always meet patient needs, no matter where in the country they are located.

In total, we will build and operate four distribution centers capable of serving about 1,000 healthcare facilities across the nation. The first of these distribution centers is expected to be operational in 2022. With our automated, on-demand delivery service we can help Ivory Coast strengthen its existing healthcare system to enhance access for all residents, improve patient care, eliminate wastage and ultimately build healthier communities.

For more information on our upcoming work in Ivory Coast, you can find the full rundown here.