The Krachi West Municipal Director of Health Service, Mr. Victor Ahiaba, has noted that access to medical commodities within the Oti region, particularly the riverine communities of the Krachi West municipality has tremendously improved since the start of Zipline's operations.
Mr. Ahiaba was speaking during a courtesy call to him by a group of journalists to assess the impact of Zipline Krachi's interventions in healthcare delivery, a year on since the commencement of operations in the municipality and beyond.
According to the Municipal Director of Health Service, 30% of the over 62,000 people within the municipality are resident in the “island” communities, making it difficult for people and healthcare facilities to access critical medical products, blood and vaccines. He said since Zipline established an operational hub in Krachi, considerable time has been saved in the delivery of medical supplies to these communities.
“Our geographical situation in Krachi is such that we have about 30% of people living on island communities. This is a major challenge for timely emergency healthcare delivery as medical logistics take longer hours to reach health facilities using traditional modes of transport. Since Zipline began deliveries in the region, island communities like Aglakope, Tokpo, Bassare, Chantai and many more which take an average of about 3 hours on canoe to reach, are today receiving medical products and vaccines within minutes of request. This has not only saved time, but also reduced cost in the distribution and increased accountability of medical supplies to health facilities in those areas,” said Mr. Ahiaba.
The Municipal director revealed that there was an emergency case in the maternity ward where a pregnant woman came in with an ectopic pregnancy for which the doctors needed more blood supplies for the patient. The facility had only one unit of blood available and so had to call Zipline for more units. Within ten minutes, the facility received three drone deliveries of blood, which helped in saving the life of the woman.
Benjamin Tagoe, the Fulfillment Lead of Zipline Krachi highlighted Zipline's commitment to expand their coverage to more island communities in Oti Region and beyond, while ensuring provision of high quality medications, vaccines, blood and consumables to meet the primary health care needs of the people.
The Oti Region has had challenges with the management of endemic diseases like malaria, typhoid fever, tuberculosis and cholera . The prevalence of these diseases means that health facilities require instant access to the medical commodities needed to manage these situations as and when they come up - a long standing challenge Zipline’s presence has helped eliminate within the area.
Furthermore, Zipline’s advanced cold chain storage systems coupled with their ability to transport these products to health facilities, while maintaining the integrity of these products, means facilities without cold chain equipment can also have access to these products on demand. Nurses in the community say in the past, patients had to be referred to the district hospitals for treatment whenever the community health outposts were saddled with shortage or unavailability of health commodities. This, they recount, has affected their work delivery as healthcare providers.
A community health nurse at the Adonten Cement CHPS in Krachi West, Abigail Kwao, said many of the residents in the community have reverted to traditional modes of healthcare treatment as the facility may not have all the medications at every given time of request due to shortages. She highlighted that through Zipline’s intervention, medical supplies to the health facility are more frequent and faster.
“It was always frustrating whenever we had to refer critically ill-patients to the district hospitals for healthcare delivery for lack of medication. Patients commuting to a secondary health facility seems to bring undue financial burden on their already overstretched medical budgets. Our facility is one of those on-boarded to receive deliveries from Zipline, and close to a year now, Zipline has supported our work, supplying different types of medications within minutes of request”, said Kwao.
Similarly, community folks could not hide their joy in expressing the impact of Zipline in their respective communities. According to an opinion leader from the Chantai community, Zipline made a timely delivery of an anti-snake venom to their Health facility which was used to save the life of a family member.
"It was around midnight when my brother was bitten by a snake and was rushed to our facility. We were told by the nurse that there was no anti-snake available at the time but she assured us that they would call Zipline. Within a couple of minutes, Zipline delivered the anti-snake that was used to save my brother. We were extremely happy by this and wish to thank Zipline."
Michael Nukpui, the Community Lead of Zipline in Krachi highlighted how Zipline as a company is committed to their mission of providing every human on earth with instant access to medical supplies. He applauded the endearing partnership between Zipline and the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service.
He said “Zipline is focused on increasing the coverage of its operations to reach more far-flung communities and make the interventions widespread”. This, it hopes to do by continuously collaborating with both the municipal and regional health directorates in supporting health programmes and policies for remote communities and improving access to healthcare.