Rwanda Launches Drone Delivery Service to Transport Blood

February 11, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. aid / eɪd / (n.) – support or help
Example: Foreign aid arrived three days after calamity struck the country.

2. far-flung / ˈfɑrˈflʌŋ / (adj.) – very far
Example: It takes six hours to deliver medicine to them since they live in a far-flung area.

3. overwhelm /ˌoʊ vərˈʰwɛlm / (v.) – to have a strong effect on one’s feelings
Example: The workers were overwhelmed by the difficulty of the project.

4.  advance / ædˈvæns / (v.) – to make something progress
Example: Relentless scientific research advanced our knowledge about cancer.

5. take (something) further / teɪk ˈfɜr ðər / (idiom) – to develop or improve something
Example: They took the project further and hired more people to work on it.


Read the text below.
Rwanda has started using the aid of drones to deliver medical supplies to remote places in the country.

In a formal ceremony, Rwandan President Paul Kagame has announced the government’s initiative to use drones to deliver blood to patients in far-flung areas. The African country’s national drone delivery service is the first of its kind in the world. These drones, also called Zips, were manufactured and supplied by Zipline, a robotics company based in Silicon Valley, California.

Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo said that the company is overwhelmed to be able to help improve the lives of Rwandan citizens with its Zips. Rinaudo is optimistic about the initiative’s potential in advancing the country’s healthcare services, especially its help in overcoming the geographical challenges of Rwanda.

Sending medical assistance in the country’s remote areas had been very challenging due to poorly made roads in these areas. Now, hospitals and medical institutions can utilize the Zip delivery system just by sending a delivery request via text message. Traveling at 100 km/h, the drone can deliver blood bags in less than an hour, which is significantly shorter than the delivery time through roads.

The Zip blood delivery service covered only western Rwanda during its launch last year, but the government will extend its services to eastern Rwanda this year. The country plans to take the national drone delivery service further by building an airport meant only for drones. The airport is expected to be finished by 2020.

Aside from Rwanda, other countries like Haiti, Guyana, and the Philippines are also considering using drones in the advancement of their healthcare services.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think that using drones to transport blood to hospitals is a good idea? Why or why not?
·         Aside from transporting blood, how else can drones be used in the medical field? 

Discussion B

·         In the future, what other innovations would you like to see in the medical field?
·         What do you think are the disadvantages of relying too much on technological advancements in the medical field?

February 11, 2017