27 April 2022, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA and Lilongwe, MALAWI: Swoop Aero and VillageReach have entered a patronage partnership with the UPS Foundation under the umbrella of a Focusing Philanthropy fundraising campaign that aims to progressively scale up drone operations across Malawi.
Since October 2020, VillageReach, Swoop Aero, and the Malawi Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) have collaborated to scale up the existing network in Malawi to a national-level network to yield positive health outcomes for hard-to-reach communities. With support from the UPS Foundation, VillageReach and Swoop Aero are expected to reach a total of 105 hard-to-reach health facilities encompassing the north and south of the country over the coming months.
Swoop Aero commenced operations in northern Malawi in November 2019 with USAID as part of the Global Health Supply Chain Program to transport HIV/AIDS related commodities. Later, in January 2020, Swoop Aero collaborated with UK Aid and UNICEF. These operations were part of Phase One to demonstrate the multifunctionality and value of bi-directional drone networks to support emergency disaster and preparedness activities.
Eric Peck, Swoop Aero CEO, highlights, “At Swoop Aero, we remain focused on our impact goal to serve 100 million people with sustainable drone logistics by 2025. Our partnership with UPS and VillageReach will help deliver this goal and showcase the long-term impact and value derived from the sustained integration and scaling up of the Swoop Aero technology in Malawi.”
The partnership forged between UPS, VillageReach, and Swoop Aero will enable the scaling impact in Malawi. The integration of bi-directional drones will benefit up to three million people across hard-to-reach and remote health facilities. The technology-based platform will expedite the achievement of strategic health objectives outlined by the Ministry of Health and Population under the Malawi Health Sector Strategic Plan II 2017-2022, specifically, inequality of access to essential health care.
“Our partnership with UPS and Swoop Aero serves as the catalyst for integrating drone technology into the Malawian health system and opens up new avenues for our organizations to work with the national government as it tackles persistent barriers to equity and Universal Health Coverage. By tapping into UPS logistical expertise, Swoop Aero aerial solution, and VillageReach’s 20 years’ experience integrating solutions with proven impact into health systems, this partnership has all the elements of success to transform the way life-saving products are being transported to reach everyone, including during emergencies and in post-disaster settings,” said Dr. Olivier Defawe, Director and Drones for Health Lead at VillageReach.
UPS Healthcare (UPSHC) and UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF) have remained vocal advocates of drone technology to unlock new value in health supply chains globally, leveraging the UPS Foundation to bring into sharp focus the impact, reach, and value of drone technology to improve health outcomes and wellbeing for communities globally. The involvement of UPS will unlock the potential for the networks to be leveraged for use cases that extend beyond health care.
Over the coming months, Swoop Aero will integrate its most advanced aircraft to date into the Malawian network, the Kite. The Kite will enable Swoop Aero, UPS, and VillageReach to scale its purpose-driven operations in Malawi to support a range of activities, including emergency disaster management, medical logistics, and search and rescue operations.
Today’s funding by the UPS Foundation denotes a positive assessment by the UPS Flight Forward team of Swoop Aero’s platform. UPS Flight Forward engaged in an in-depth assessment of the technology platform and visited Swoop Aero operations in southern Malawi. Over the coming months, the relationship between Swoop Aero and UPS will expand into new and existing markets, including Australia and the United States.