Drone medicine deliveries to go live in Kisumu

Kisumu governor Anyang’ Nyong’o. PHOTO | JAMES EKWAM | NMG

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

Anyang’ Nyong’o, the Governor, said the initiative, being implemented by Zipline, will use its autonomous aircraft technology to reach the farthest 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,” Prof Nyong’o 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 last week.

Among other gains, he said, he said the programme would improve food security and enhance production of milk and meat.

The drone centre to be opened officially in Chemelil will also be used to transport fertilisers, the governor said.

In Africa, Zipline is using drones in Rwanda to deliver blood and 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.

The county chief pointed out that his administration was 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, explaining the city has a comparative advantage over others in Kenya and the region.

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

The centre, to be completed in the next two to three years, will offer radiotherapy and chemotherapy and treat blood disorders like sickle cell anaemia.

Upon completion, the centre will run a daily sickle cell clinic and is expected to provide therapeutic apheresis in which defective red blood cells are removed and replaced.

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

Prof Nyong’o has also committed to have community environment workers to help boost the county forest cover, which is currently less than three percent.

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