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The government of Bayelsa State is partnering with Sterling Bank Plc; Zipline, a global leader in instant logistics, Drugstoc and Health Spaces to implement a transformation agenda in the state’s healthcare system under a Health Supply Chain Consortium.

According to the memorandum of understanding (MoU), the Health Supply Chain Consortium will invest in the transformation of Bayelsa State healthcare supply chain by procuring all required pharmaceutical supplies, developing best-in-class warehousing infrastructure, provide comprehensive last mile logistic solutions and ensure revenue optimization for the state.

Sterling Bank is a financial solutions provider with invested interest in improving the health sector of Nigeria, Drugstoc is a technology-enabled drug procurement and distribution company, Health Spaces is a healthcare retail management and business support company while Zipline is a last mile aerial logistics provider for delivery of essential medical supplies to disadvantaged communities.

Sterling will be responsible for deploying and implementing an automated revenue collection system for tracking and collection of revenue accruing under this agreement, provide access to capital or credit facilities for the project, where such funding requests meet the bank’s risk assessment criteria and provide accounting software and financial services hardware at retail points of the Project.

The partnership will enable the state to enhance access to health care, improve inventory management for medical supplies, enhance emergency responsiveness and make on-demand, life-saving deliveries of medical supplies possible.

Speaking at the signing of the MoU in Yenogoa, the Bayelsa State capital today, Governor Duoye Diri said, “We remain well committed to delivering an aggressive agenda of building a dependable health delivery system in Bayelsa, part of which has given birth to this partnership.

“We envisage that this partnership will remain one of the most significant ways of removing the access barriers that mitigates easy delivery of medical commodities to our health facilities,” adding that, “Even distribution of on-demand medical commodities to remote and hard-to-reach areas do not only safe lives but also become a significant way of managing waste that happens as a result of expiry of medicines.”

By this agreement, Zipline will establish a distribution hub in Bayelsa State for the introduction, operation and maintenance of a just-in-time instant logistics solution to ensure that essential drugs, blood and a selection of other life-saving medical supplies are available to the state health facilities in Bayelsa State.

When completed, the service will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, day or night, from the distribution centre which will be equipped with Zipline’s proprietary fleet of drones.

Also speaking, Mr. Obinna Ukachukwu, Divisional Head, Health Finance and Education sectors of Sterling Bank, remarked that, “Our membership and role in this consortium resounds our commitment to transforming the healthcare sector in Nigeria; one partnership and project at a time.

“With each transformative collaboration, we seek to take the Nigerian population one step closer to a healthcare system that meets their needs at every turn.Each member of this consortium is working towards one crucial goal for the Bayelsa State Government and her people; to make healthcare better.This vision drives the H in our HEART strategy and is the sole reason we are in this business.”

Zipline CEO, Keller Rinaudo said, “Zipline is pleased to partner with the people, Government of Bayelsa and Sterling Bank to advance instant, autonomous healthcare delivery across the state,” said Zipline CEO, Keller Rinaudo. “This partnership is an important milestone for Zipline as we scale smart, safe and just-in-time delivery technology and transform how goods move around the globe.”

The Senior Vice President for Zipline Africa, Daniel Marfo assured that Zipline will begin the construction process immediately so as to stay within the agreed timelines. “We are committed to rapidly meeting our side of this agreement, part of which entails building of a distribution hub from where we will store and deliver the medical commodities and employ hundreds local team members from Bayelsa. Our system is well tested across Africa and the United States, and there is no doubt that it is a giant step in expanding universal healthcare access in Nigeria.”

On her part, the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Pabara Newton Igwele said, “This partnership is significant to us as it will complement our efforts in hitching up primary health care delivery services in Bayelsa. There is no doubt that leveraging technology for medical delivery should be a game changer for even distribution of medical commodities.”

The Bayelsa signing follows Kaduna and Cross River states that have already signed onto the Zipline technology in Nigeria.



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