The Country Coordinator of Zipline, Mr Daniel Marfo, says the use of aerial logistics such as drones is critical to meeting the healthcare needs of people in areas not easily accessible by road.
He said the use of aerial logistics in Africa was no longer a luxury but a necessity, hence the need for governments to invest more in that.
He said, for example, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana, two million routine vaccines and 500,000 medical products had been delivered via drones.
Mr Marfo said this in a keynote address at the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) 32nd and 33rd Annual General Meeting in Accra last Tuesday.
“We must collaborate with all players in the industry, knowing that the goal of a doctor is the same as that of a nurse, same as that of a midwife, same as that of a lab technician, and same as all others within the value chain; that is to see a happy patient who has recovered from an ailment as a result of our support. We must collaborate to achieve this,” he said.
A Scientific Symposium and the combined 62nd and 63rd Council Meeting of the WAPCP were also held as part of the event.
The meeting, which was on the theme: “Universal Health Coverage: The Role of Digital and Collaborative Services,” saw the induction of 191 fellows into the College of Pharmacists.
The college, among other things, aims at advancing the knowledge and skills of practising pharmacists through postgraduate education and training, boosting knowledge in the application of pharmacy in the health- care system, and promoting research in pharmacy and advance pharmacy practice in specialised disciplines.
Mr Marfo said to achieve universal health coverage, there was the need to move beyond the acquisition of medicine for ailments to addressing other innovative mechanisms that prevented easy access to treatment.
That, he said, was not just the responsibility of the government, doctors or pharmacists, but the responsibility of every citizen.
“We cannot discount the very essential role of digitisation and collaborative services in rapidly achieving the quest to providing universal health coverage,” he said.
Mr Marfo said although there was some level of transformation in the digitisation of patient’s records, there was the need to go beyond that to cover the entire patient journey management right from the hospital to the pharmacy and to the provision of homecare services.
“It is imperative that we build a very sustainable digital capacity in the entire journey of changing the face of health care. When done appropriately, it will eliminate silos of information kept at different places to facilitate a complete picture of patient health needs.
“I am looking forward to a day in Africa when one could attend a different hospital and still have access to all his/her medical history just by a click of a button. One of the many ways of improving universal health coverage is through cutting-edge digital platforms that link patient records to all facilities so that even in emergencies, when I am rushed to a different facility other than my primary facility, I can receive the required treatment based on my medical history,” he said.
The President of WAPCP, Mrs Markieu Janneh Kaira, said in 1991, the WAPCP was established as a postgraduate professional training programme leading to Fellowship award in order to meet the expanding roles of pharmacists worldwide and the changing needs of society in pharmaceutical care.
The college was officially inaugurated in Ghana in February 1991.
The college admitted its first batch of Fellows by examination in February 1997.
Mrs Kaira urged the new fellows to demonstrate the knowledge and professional prowess they had acquired in the course of their training.