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Immunization compliance rises to 97% in Bayelsa as drones supply vaccines to rural hospitals 

Healthcare providers and nursing mothers in Bayelsa state have expressed satisfaction with the adoption of drones services to supply drugs and other medicals to hospitals…

Healthcare providers and nursing mothers in Bayelsa state have expressed satisfaction with the adoption of drones services to supply drugs and other medicals to hospitals in Bayelsa state, saying it has boosted immunization compliance by 97 percent and address the issue of drugs shortages, especially in the health facilities located in the remote areas.

Bayelsa government had in 2022 entered partnership with logistics delivery company, Zipline to enhance the preservation of crucial cold chain medications and expand the distribution of essential medical supplies to remote health facilities across the state, a situation that has facilitated more than 13, 500 deliveries of medical supplies including 537,000 doses of vaccines to 210 health facilities in the state.

Speaking with Daily Trust correspondents who visited some medical facilities in the remote and riverain villages in Ogbia and Yenagoa local government areas of the state, some nursing mothers said they no longer have issues of unavailability of vaccines for children’s immunization in rural hospitals in the state.

A nursing mother, Mrs Elizabeth Akpo, said at Otuokpoti Primary Heath Centre in Ogbia local government that previously some of her children could not get complete dose of immunization because the hospital always complaint of the availability of vaccines due to the accessibility of the area to Yenagoa, the state capital, but the situation is different now as her child gets vaccines any of her schedule date.

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She said: “Anytime I come, they attend to me quickly and there is always injection anytime I come, they no longer give us any excuse, as a farmer, I don’t have much time to wait in the hospital, that is why I very happy with the recent healthcare attention to me in the hospital.

“The immunisation is very good, it makes the baby look very good, I barely experience small sickness like malaria, stooling and measles, they fly our vaccines to the hospital from Yenagoa, we are very happy.

Also, the officer in charge of Otuokpoti Primary Heath Centre, Mrs Ase Adiogbogbo, said receiving drugs and medicals via drones help in prompt service delivery and to adequately attend to patients in a situation of emergency.

She said: “The experience has been wonderful, they are prompt in delivering the product especially the vaccines we order from them, so whenever we request, they are prompt in bringing it and the drones, initially we were having issues but for now, everything is good, they drop at the proper site here in the hospital before we store them in our storage facility.

“Just like the situation of immunization, you know this is rural hospital, we deal mostly with nursing mothers, there has been improvement in our healthcare delivery, because before now, sometimes it takes time for the vaccine to get to us, when it happened, we get out of stock, but now, there is no shortage of drugs, no complaint about abandoning of patients again due to lack of drugs.

The Head of Clinical Services at Kolo General hospital in Ogbia local government, Dr Opukumo Wilson Alaxendra, said the drone services in Bayelsa hospitals is an innovation designed to improve the health needs of the people of the rural areas in Bayelsa state.

He said: “I can say it is the best technology so far, because if you should look for any item that is not available probably, maybe you go to the market to look for it and it’s not there, you can get it as you place the call, they fly the consumables across to you.

“Zipline has rendered so much services that we can not over-emphasize, the truth about it is that they respond quickly whenever you request and more so, I can say is the safest and the best possible way to get drugs from the source.” He said.

Immunization officer at Agudama Ekpetiama General Hospital in Yenagoa local government, Dr Agabugene Timineri, said the technological innovation is big improvement in the health system in Bayelsa state, as the ordered vaccines get to them in the matter of 10 minutes, compare to when they will have to traveled hours to the city centre to get drugs for patients who needs emergency attention.