Drone services improve medical supplies to Bayelsa hospitals

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Healthcare professionals, stakeholders and nursing mothers in Bayelsa State have lauded the efficiency of the drone services deployed by the state government to supply drugs and other medical consumables to hospitals across the state.

They made their positions known in separate interviews with journalists who visited some health facilities in Yenagoa and Ogbia local government areas of the state.

In 2022, the state government entered into a partnership with a logistics delivery company, Zipline, to enhance preservation of crucial cold-chain medications, and expand the distribution of essential medical supplies to remote health facilities across the state.

Checks showed that the initiative had facilitated more than 13,500 deliveries of medical supplies, and 537,000 doses of vaccines to 210 health facilities in the state.

Head of Clinical Services at Kolo General Hospital in Ogbia Local Government Area, Dr Opukumo Alexandra, said the drone services were an innovation designed to improve response to the health needs of rural dwellers.

He said, “I can say it (drone) is the best technology so far. Because if you should look for any item that is not available, probably, maybe you go to the market to look for it and it’s not there, you can get it from Zipline. As you place a phone call, they fly the consumables across to you.

“Zipline has rendered so much services that we cannot over-emphasize. They respond quickly whenever you place a request.”

The medical officer in charge of Otuokpoti Primary Health Centre in Ogbia Local Government Area, Ase Adiogbogbo, and the Immunization Officer at Agudama-Ekpetiama Health Centre in Yenagoa Local Government Area, Dr Agabugene Timineri, said the adoption of the technological innovation had led to improvement in the state’s health system in terms of reducing the time of delivery of drugs and other medical consumables, which were mostly by road or boat.

They noted that receiving drugs and medicals via drones help in prompt service delivery and to adequately attend to patients, especially in emergency situations.

Adiogbogbo said, “Just like immunization, you know this is a rural hospital. We deal mostly with nursing mothers and there has been improvement in our healthcare delivery, because before now, sometimes it takes time for the vaccine to get to us and we get out of stocks. But now, there is no shortage of drugs.”

A nursing mother at the Otuokpoti Primary Health Centre, Elizabeth Akpo, said before the introduction of the drone services, some of her children could not be immunized as the clinic always complained of unavailability of drugs due to the problem of difficulty in accessibility.

She said, “But the situation is different now. My child gets vaccinated at any of her scheduled date. Anytime I come, they attend to me quickly and there is always injection anytime I come. No excuses again.

“That is why I’m very happy with the recent healthcare attention to me in the hospital. The immunization is very good, it makes the baby look very good. I barely experience small sickness like malaria, stooling and measles. They fly vaccines to the hospital from Yenagoa, we are very happy.

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