Kenya has the third largest HIV epidemic in the world, with an estimated 1.3 to 1.7 million people living with HIV as of 2020. 42% of new HIV cases are among young people aged 15-24.

In response to this, the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Zipline, the global leader in instant logistics and deliveries, and Kisumu County Government partnered to deliver life-saving medical supplies to communities who are living with or at risk of HIV, and who live in remote areas of the country. Once enrolled in the program, adolescents and young adults can place orders via community health workers, and peer educators supported by the project.

Over the span of our three-year partnership, automated drones will deliver HIV commodities, including self-test kits, PrEP, treatment, educational materials, and other related supplies to community distribution points frequented by young people. These areas include night clubs, sports fields, schools, and events – allowing youth to manage their health needs outside of a traditional clinical setting.

Together, we aim to support:

  • 14,500 young people to routinely test for HIV
  • 8,000 at risk adolescents to start PrEP
  • 1,000 adolescents living with HIV to start treatment

These operations mark the first-ever drone deliveries of any products in Kenya, as well as the first time a county government is putting Kenyans within a matter of minutes from the instant delivery of health supplies.

“Over the past seven years, Zipline has shown that when you give access to its instant logistics and delivery system to health centers you can significantly improve the quality of care, patient outcomes and the satisfaction of health care workers,” said Prof. Anyang Nyong’o, Governor of Kisumu County. “We believe that by bringing Zipline’s critical infrastructure to Kenya, we will strengthen our health system, give people the medicines they need, when they need them, and better educate young people who can make better, healthier choices.”

“Equal access to proper medication is vital in ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Through this historic partnership with Zipline and community-based partners, we can better provide necessary medications when and where they are needed, outside of conventional health settings and in the areas young people frequent most,” said Anne Aslett, Chief Executive Officer of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “When the right information and services directly engage youth where they are, they will make better, safer choices. This will lead to reduced HIV infection and improved health outcomes for themselves, those they love, and their peers.”

Supporting Kenya’s universal health coverage goals

An analysis of health facilities served by three of Zipline’s distribution centers in Ghana found that the Zipline system is meaningfully contributing to the government’s work to expand healthcare across the country. The selected findings by IDinsight revealed:

  • Shortened vaccine stock outs by 60% and decreased missed opportunities for vaccination by 42%
  • Decreased number of days where facilities were without critical medical supplies by 21%
  • 37% reduction in severe malaria patients turned away due to stockout, and a 56% reduction in snakebite patients turned away due to stockout

“Our instant delivery service streamlines supply chains, allowing governments and health providers to bring care to people when they need it,” said Winfred Njeri Muiruri, Head of Zipline Kenya. “The start of our work with the Kisumu government, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and community partners brings us one step closer to offering this service to millions more people.”

To increase access and reduce medical waste, stocks of blood products, vaccines and life-saving medications will be stored at Zipline’s distribution center for just-in-time delivery. Health workers will place orders by text message or call and promptly receive their deliveries exactly when and where they need them in approximately 30 minutes.

Kenya marks Zipline’s fifth country of operation in Africa, following operations in Ghana, Rwanda, Nigeria, and Côte d’Ivoire.