Inside a drone delivery center in Rwanda–the first in the world to make medical deliveries at a national scale–staff answered an emergency call in July. A hospital needed blood for a 24-year-old woman who had just given birth by caesarian section. The hospital had transfused her with two units of blood. But she bled out of those units in 10 minutes.
“In that case, that mom is likely to lose her life–not just in the developing world, but even in the U.S. that mom is in a really difficult, dangerous position,” says Keller Rinaudo, CEO of Zipline, the startup that developed and runs the drone network for the Rwandan government, which supplies it with blood and other medical necessities to deliver to its far-flung clinics. “But in this case, the doctors called Zipline, started placing emergency orders, and Zipline basically instantly did delivery after delivery.”