As Ghana and the rest of the world marked sickle cell Day, a Zipline medical drone Wednesday airlifted medication to an 11-year sickle cell patient at the Asamankese Government Hospital.
The Hydroxyurea capsules were transported from Zipline's centre at Omenako around 10:20 am and reached Asamankese within 25 minutes.
It was the first time over the last five years that Ohene Kwaku and his mother, Ellen Ofori, have been spared the hassle of travelling to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for a check-up and get medication.
Over the period, aside from huge transport cost, Mrs Ofori has had to spend ¢60 for one pack of medication every three months.
Kwaku was diagnosed with Sickle Cell disease when he was three and has been transported to the Korle Bu Hospital over the last eight years for treatment.
Speaking to journalists at the Asamankese Government Hospital after receiving the medication, Mrs Ofori said she had over the period transported Kwaku four times each year, something she described as a huge burden.
She was thankful to Novartis and Zipline Ghana Limited for supplying three packets of the drug, which could last him for a year, free of charge to her son.
Head of Pharmacy at the Asamankese Government Hospital, Nii Obodai Mensah, placed the order for the medication at 10:15 am and the drone set off five minutes later.
The Hydroxyurea capsules is a brand of global pharmaceutical giant, Novartis which is partnering Zipline Ghana Limited and the Sickle Cell Foundation to ensure sickle cell drugs reach the doorsteps of every patient in the country.
General Manager of Zipline Ghana Limited, Daniel Marfo, said his outfit was working with Novartis and the Sickle Cell Foundation to find ways of easing the plight of Kwaku and other sickle cell patients in the Eastern region and other areas of the country.
President of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Ghana, Professor Kwaku Ohene Frimpong, praised Novartis for the numerous supports it has rendered to the Foundation and patients in Ghana over the years.
He disclosed that since in 1995, Novartis has been supporting the treatment of sickle cell in Ghana, revealing that the Swiss pharmaceutical company has pledged to half the price of the capsules.
According to him, about 15,000 babies are annually born with sickle cell and about 50-90% of them die before the age of five.
This year's Sickle Cell Day in Ghana is being marked under the theme: 'Blood Is Thicker Than Water.'