Covid-19: World first as Ghana uses drones to speed up testing

Covid-19: World first as Ghana uses drones to speed up testing

- Ghana becomes the first country in the world using drone technology to speed up the fight against Covid-19

- The United States is expected to be the second country to roll out the process but processes are far from being completed for the implementation of the concept

- Ghana started using drones to aid the fight against Covid-19 on April 17 when its use was employed to deliver test swabs from the Eastern Region to Accra

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Ghana has become the first country in the world to boost her fight against the novel coronavirus with the use of drone technology which makes speeds up the testing. reports that no other nation in the world has been able to deploy drones to help transport samples for testing, especially from remote areas, as everyone else depends on the use of traditional transportation methods.

According to Keller Rinaudo, the CEO of Zipline, the company that set up the 'matternet' of drones in Ghana, the US is expected to be the next in the use of the drones after Ghana.

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However, Keller Rinaudo adds that although the company eventually plans to put its technology into use in the United States, it is focused right now on the program in Ghana.

Ghana started using the drones to aid the fight against the coronavirus-19 on 17 April. Bismark Sarkodie, a Municipal Director of Health Services in the Eastern Region, needed to test 244 construction workers after three of them tested positive for Covid-19.

Instead of driving for two hours to the nearest testing centre in Accra, called the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Bismark rather dropped the test swaps off at a health facility in a nearby district where it was transported to the centre via drones.

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The test swabs were simply packaged with ice in specially designed bio-safe containers, fitted with a parachute, and placed into the bellies of the drones. Within a few minutes, the test swabs were winging their way to a testing facility via autonomous drone.

Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus-19, the medical drones were contracted for use to distribute medical supplies like drugs particularly in remote areas during certain emergency situations.

After realizing how efficient and effective the use of the drone technology was in transporting the samples, Bismark Sarkodie noted its relevance in the fight against Covid-19 with the words:

“Testing is the most important thing, and whatever it takes to make it faster, makes it better."

It is reported that Zipline’s fleet in Ghana is equipped to transport up to 15 000 tests a day, in 300 flights, from their two collection points — though Ghanaians are hoping demand will never reach that point.

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