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Campaign Art: Disruptive technologies and development goals

Darejani Markozashvili's picture
People, Spaces, Deliberation bloggers present exceptional campaign art from all over the world. These examples are meant to inspire.

Disruptive technologies are redefining the way of life. Everyone is buzzing about drones, driverless cars, autopilot planes, robots, and supply chains, starting from the entertainment industry, to agriculture and food sector, to private sector, to humanitarian and development fields. Drones delivering food, water, or health supplies, using off-grid power, innovative mobile apps, and other technological developments are all very exciting and unknown at the same time.

How will drones impact the supply chains and service delivery in the future? What are the opportunities and risks associated with utilizing drones to deliver supplies? What is the role of technology in helping us reach Sustainable Development Goals? I can’t pretend I have answers to any of these questions, nor do I dare predict what our future may look like in 10,20,30 years. However, it sure is interesting to look at the recent technological developments and try to understand what their role may be in the future.  

That’s where the unlikely and innovative story of Zipline International Inc. and the Government of Rwanda comes in. Last fall the Government of Rwanda partnered with the California-based robotics company Zipline International Inc. and became the first country in the world to incorporate drone technology into its health care system by delivering blood and medical supplies to 21 hospitals across Rwanda’s Southern and Western provinces.
Delivering blood

Source: Zipline

Smaller hospitals often have to choose between availability of blood vs. wastefulness. They may either have too much blood on hand and risk wastefulness in case demand is low or they have less blood supplies but run the risk of scarcity if the demand goes up. Either way hospitals and patients lose. According to Zipline by using their services hospitals eliminate both availability and waste challenges. Once a hospital worker contacts the distribution center alerting them of a need for blood delivery, Zipline worker then dispatches the robot plane with blood pouch inside of it, and delivers the package to the hospital (within 75 km) 15 minutes later, regardless of weather conditions. The Rwandan Government then pays Zipline for each delivery.

The potential for this type of service is high, especially during the emergency and disaster situations, when the need to get vaccines and other health supplies out to often difficult to reach territories can be lifesaving.  

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