Read time: 3 minutes

Africa to pilot drone delivery to enhance rural healthcare

Africa , 05 Jun 2023
First integrated drone-based transportation solution for laboratory samples and medical supplies in Africa.
First integrated drone-based transportation solution for laboratory samples and medical supplies in Africa.

Medical technology company Siemens Healthineers will collaborate with German drone manufacturer Wingcopter to pilot an integrated drone delivery solution for healthcare facilities throughout Africa.

The two-way drone delivery system transporting blood samples, vaccines, and pharmaceuticals to improve access to sample analysis, will enable faster treatment for rural communities, says the company.

During the pilot, Wingcopter will operate battery-powered drones covering a range of up to 75kms ‘while maintaining the cold chain at all times’.

Siemens Healthineers and Wingcopter announced the partnership after signing an agreement ‘to develop and roll out an integrated drone delivery solution to transport various laboratory diagnostics materials as well as other medical supplies in Africa’.

Also, Wingcopter intends to ‘train and upskill local young people, creating jobs and perspectives in the fast-growing drone industry’.

In doing so, Wingcopter says, it is following the company’s approach in Malawi, where operations are run by an all-local, majority-female crew.

A joint statement from the company reads: “The combination of Siemens Healthineers’ Laboratory Diagnostics testing capabilities and Wingcopter’s drone delivery services will provide improved diagnostics and faster treatment.

“The solution will adopt the latest in digital technology provided by Siemens Healthineers and Wingcopter from highly automated drone delivery to Laboratory Information Systems, which will accurately track and report results directly to the patients.”

Ole Maloy, managing director of Siemens Healthineers Middle East, Southern & Eastern Africa, said: “Our partnership with Wingcopter will look to bridge the existing gaps in healthcare infrastructure, providing equitable and affordable access to diagnostic testing and medical supplies.”

Tom Plümmer, CEO and co-founder of Wingcopter, added: “We are convinced that we have found the perfect partner for our bold ambitions to improve and save the lives of millions of people on the African continent and beyond. Partnering with Siemens Healthineers will bring us a big step closer to the goal we are working tirelessly towards – to make a real social impact worldwide for those who need it most through fast, reliable and sustainable drone delivery networks in the sky.”

Daily newsletter