Siemens Healthineers has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with drone company Wingcopter to develop, roll out and pilot an integrated drone delivery solution for healthcare facilities throughout Africa.
The battery-powered drones will be operated by Wingcopter, covering a range of up to 75km while maintaining the cold chain at all times. These sustainable and efficient drone delivery networks are expected to enable the centralization of sample testing and medical consumables distribution, resulting in improved access to diagnosis, faster turnaround time, increased efficiency and reduction in costs.
The use of Wingcopter’s delivery drones interconnected with Siemens Healthineers’ laboratory diagnostics facilities is expected to enable quick and automated two-way delivery of various laboratory diagnostics materials as well as other medical supplies in Africa, such as blood samples, vaccines and pharmaceuticals. This service is intended to improve access to sample analysis, accelerate diagnosis and enable faster treatment for rural communities.
Roughly half of the world’s population still lack access to essential health services such as timely diagnostic services, according to a report from the World Bank and WHO. Alongside increasing accessibility for diagnostic testing, the delivery solution is intended to positively affect local health, capacity for drone operations and sustainability while also reducing the risk of road accidents. Wingcopter intends to train and upskill local young people, creating jobs and perspectives in the drone industry.
Ole Maloy, managing director of Siemens Healthineers Middle East, Southern and Eastern Africa, said, “At Siemens Healthineers, we are committed to providing access to care for everyone. Our partnership with Wingcopter will look to bridge the existing gaps in healthcare infrastructure, providing equitable and affordable access to diagnostic testing and medical supplies.”
Tom Plümmer, CEO and co-founder of Wingcopter, commented, “We are convinced that we have found the perfect partner for our bold ambitions to improve and save the lives of millions of people on the African continent and beyond. Partnering with Siemens Healthineers will bring us a big step closer to the goal we are working tirelessly toward: to make a real social impact worldwide for those who need it most through fast, reliable and sustainable drone delivery networks in the sky.”
To keep up with the latest Wingcopter developments, click here.