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World Bank president hails Rwanda’s use of drones in healthcare delivery

The World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim described Rwanda’s use of drones to deliver life-saving blood as best example of how governments can tap into latest technologies for benefit of their citizens.

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World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim launches a medical supply delivery drone at Zipline Drone Project in Muhanga District yesterday

Kim arrived in Kigali on Tuesday for a two-day visit.

He headed to tour Rwanda’s drone port project run by U.S. firm Zipline Inc. in Muhanga, southern Rwanda.

In Muhanga, he witnessed demonstration of blood delivery using drones by the Zipline team.

He said the drones could be used to deliver more medical products, including vaccines and other urgently required medicines.

"Using drones to deliver blood is truly a life-saving innovation and a credit to Rwanda’s leadership. It’ll greatly improve health outcomes," Kim said in a tweet.

After the demonstration he noted that one of the greatest challenges especially in developing countries healthcare systems is that when someone has an emergency requiring urgent attention, it is often difficult to get the supplies where needed.

The drone port project was launched last October. The drones deliver life saving blood to more than 20 health facilities in the western part of the country which were inaccessible by vehicles, according to Rwandan officials.

The use of drones reduced the duration of delivery of blood to about 30 minutes from 4 to 5 hours, officials explained.

Meanwhile, the World Bank Group president affirmed the lender’s commitment to support Rwanda’s development process in all possible ways.

He said he was very optimistic about the future of Rwanda, despite many obstacles and challenges.

"I am here to say to President Paul Kagame and the Rwandan people that the World Bank Group is ready to help in any way that they can and that we believe in the future of Rwanda and we believe that it will continue to be a model for the entire world," Kim said after touring ICT innovation centre, kLab and Digital Fabrication Lab in Kigali.

He interacted with Rwandan young ICT entrepreneurs.

Kim is expected to address a public lecture at the Kigali Convention Centre on Wednesday and meet Kagame before winding up his visit.

Jimirasire

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