Kisumu embraces drones to deliver medical supplies

reforestation, tree planting, drones

A drone flying with seed balls.

Photo credit: HELLEN SHIKANDA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Delivery of medical supplies via drones will go live in the next fortnight as Kisumu County announced plans to embrace instant logistics services.

Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o said the initiative, being implemented by Zipline, will use its autonomous aircraft technology to reach the furthest ends of the region.

“Among others, we will leverage this new technology to improve our productivity in agriculture by enabling genetic improvement of local breeds at the animal reproduction centre in Chemelil,” he said.

“Instead of having to transport your cow all the way to Chemelil, we can rear the bulls, produce semen then transport them by drones to Rodi Kopany in Homa Bay or Anding’o Opanga in Nyakach within minutes,” he said on Wednesday during the gubernatorial debate.

Prof Nyong’o pointed out that the programme would help improve food security and enhance the county’s production of milk and meat.

Drone centre

He pointed out that the drone centre to officially be opened in Chemelil will also be used to transport fertilisers.

In Africa, Zipline is successfully using drones in Rwanda to deliver blood and essential medicines to rural hospitals.

The programme was launched during the first phase of lockdown that started on March 21, 2020 when the government observed that some of the densely populated neighbourhoods and high-risk zones were not adhering to Covid-19 preventive measures as it was difficult to reach them by prevention awareness messages.

Meanwhile, the county chief pointed out that his administration is building on the foundation of the recently concluded AfriCities conference that attracted more than 11,000 delegates to boost its tourism potential.

He said Kisumu wants to promote conference tourism, saying the city has a comparative advantage over others in Kenya and the region.

Noting that Kisumu is among counties with a high cancer disease burden, Prof Nyong’o said he has spearheaded the establishment of a comprehensive cancer and blood disorder centre at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital.

The centre, to be completed in the next two to three years, is expected to offer radiotherapy and chemotherapy and treat blood disorders like sickle cell anaemia for patients in the greater lake region and Kenya.

Upon completion, the centre will offer a daily sickle cell clinic and is expected to provide therapeutic apheresis in which defective red blood cells are removed and replaced with normal ones through a special machine.

It will be equipped and staffed to offer bone marrow transplant services, which will be useful for most haemato-oncological conditions.

Governor Nyong’o has also committed to establish community environment workers to help boost the county forest cover, which is currently less than three per cent.

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