January 22, 2021: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be funding WeRobotics to expand the World Health Organization’s (WHO) understanding and use of drone delivery. This project has multiple facets, which are being advanced and coordinated by WHO’s African Regional Office (AFRO).

Currently, the main component that WeRobotics are working includes continuous drone deliveries in Ghana with Zipline, WHO Ghana and Ghana Flying Labs, and Madagascar with Aerial Metric, WHO Madagascar, and Madagascar Flying Labs. The company has completed the full set of deliveries in Northern Ghana with Zipline and will soon begin deliveries in Northern Madagascar with Aerial Metric and Team.

The purpose of this project is to directly inform WHO’s operational understanding of drone delivery services to transport patient samples. This means gaining a clear understanding of the operational workflows, technical and regulatory requirements, costs, and time-savings from using existing drone delivery systems such as Zipline’s in Ghana and Aerial Metric’s in Madagascar. While the project serves as a comparative analysis between drone delivery in Ghana and Madagascar, its purpose is not to suggest that one system or model is better than the other. Instead, the aim is to build WHO’s internal understanding of drone delivery services to make the most of the various systems and models that already exist.

Once it completes all drone deliveries and analyse the data collected, insights will be shared later in the year, along with the design of operational study. In the meantime, WeRobotics will also begin the next phases of this multi-year project with WHO/AFRO and the Gates Foundation - more details on these towards the second half of 2021 will be shared.

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