Rwanda Introduces Drones for Medical Supplies in the Countryside

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While many countries are busy using drones to fight opponents, including terrorists, Rwanda has gone further by rather effectively using drones to send much needed medical supplies to the countryside. The introduction of remotely piloted aircraft to deliver medical supplies to remote districts does not only ensure efficiency and timeliness, it equally saves many lives and increases productivity.

The drone, which will be officially launched today in Rwanda, will fly food to Muhanga, located in the southern district of the country. The launch follows nine months after the Government entered into a collaboration with   Zipline Inc, a California-based robotics firm, to help build the drone to eliminate logistic nightmares in medical supplies in Rwanda. Before the introduction of the drone, it took four to five hours using an ambulance by road from Kigali to deliver medical supplies, including blood to hospitals in the south. The delivery took place twice weekly, but in the case of emergency, that could even reach five to six times weekly. Sometimes, staff would have to leave their station for another to help with medical supplies. Happily, with the introduction of the drones, as many as 21 hospitals in the Sothern and Western Districts of Rwanda can be supplied with their medical needs with a short time Moreover, days are gone when staff from the health facilities would have to leave their stations for others. The introduction of the drone will bring some high quality and efficiency in the health section in remote areas, which will go a long way in saving precious lives.

The ambitious project has attracted attention of many countries and international partners, including Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), a public-private global health company committed to increasing access to immunisation in poor countries and UPS, a global logistics firm, which made a $800,000 grant available to support the initial launch of the initiative to make medical supplies to the countryside available using drones.

Sadly, some have accused me of being President Paul Kagame`s die-hard supporter, despite what some of his critics call “intolerance for opposition.“   I challenge anyone to go to Rwanda and see things for themselves before taking a stand.

Rwanda has metamorphosed to a success story. Twenty-two years after the sad news of Rwanda`s abysmal genocide fall, it has risen to a small but mighty country to reckon with. The country has transformed itself from self-pity to a respectable state by gallantly taking its faith and identity in its hands. Rwanda has decided to free itself from the shackle of the Western media`s definition, by creating its own identity and achieving the unthinkable through hard work.   It`s a collective achievement by Rwandans under a dedicated and visionary leader Paul Kagame.

Clearly, President Paul Kagame is a great admirer of Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore, who governed the once poor country for three decades, and systematically transforming the country from the third world to first world in a single generation ““ something unthinkable. Often described as the founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew`s style of leadership was criticised for control on civil and political liberties, including public protests and media control. However, Lee Kuan Yew defended his actions and argued that sometimes such disciplinary measures were a prerequisite for political stability, which together with the rule of law, lead to and economic progress. Today, even Lee Kuan Yew`s worst critics and opponents would not deny his priceless achievements in Singapore, a country which is now not only one of the richest in the world, but also amongst the most stable and best countries to live in the world, in terms quality of life, income, security etc. Looking at the level of development and structural cum economic metamorphosis taking place in Rwanda, coupled with a good health care system for the citizens, only enemies of Rwanda would argue that the country is not on the right track. Let`s us not personalise the debate by arguing whether President Kagame is a visionary leader or not, but I bet you, it takes a rare strong breed to put the country in the direction it is going. Looking at other African Presidents around, only a biased mind would insist that President Paul Kagame does not have the interest of Rwanda in his heart.