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global health innovations: delivering blood by drones!

June 15th, 2018 | 1 min read

By Matthew Loftus

I’m really enjoying MTV News’ Africa Specific series on various happenings in Africa — it’s not just “gee-whiz” stories, but substantial reporting that digs into some of the more complex political and social changes happening in many countries. This story about Rwanda using drones to deliver blood for transfusions is no exception:

The challenges also go beyond the clinic. Part of Zipline’s advertising copy reads “no roads, no problem,” but drones can’t transport patients in need of emergency medical services. Those people will still have to travel roads that are often unpaved and sometimes treacherous to navigate. “During the rainy season, the roads are washed out or are nonexistent,” said Hamilton. “And even when it’s not the rainy season, if you’re driving uphill and you get behind the wrong petrol truck, you’re going to be there for a long time.” So it’s important to ask: What if the blood a patient needs can get to the clinic in time, but the patient can’t? “I imagine whoever came up with that tagline has not spent a lot of time in a place with no roads,” Dionne said.

You may also find this article about the good, the bad, and the ugly in Rwandan autocracy interesting.

Matthew Loftus

Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at