The current lockdown has resulted in essential movement only, affecting retailers and businesses and limiting access to essentials like medication and food, especially for those most vulnerable. Uber has responded to this by quickly adapting their technology to offer Uber Direct, an on-demand and scheduled last-mile delivery solution for businesses.

Ensuring continued access to medicines

The power of this solution is evident in Uber’s recent partnership with The Western Cape Department of Health and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Several NGOs and their critically important community health workers are now able to collect and deliver medication to those most vulnerable to COVID-19. In the first two weeks of the partnership, over 25 000 people received their medication, with many more safe and contactless deliveries being made daily. 

Dr Giovanni Perez, Chief Director of Metro District Health Services at the Western Cape Government Department of Health says, “This partnership is a great example of how the public and private sector can work together, regardless of any challenges, for the well-being of the people.“

Oumar Seydi, Africa Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation highlights how important this initiative is as part of the COVID19 response, ‘Finding innovative ways of protecting the most vulnerable populations is critical at this time and we are honoured to be part of this innovation to get medication in the hands of those who need it most.”

Assisting those in need

Millions of people around South Africa go without food each day, with the lockdown and continued call for self-distancing, this number is expected to increase. 

SA Harvest, a food rescue organisation that aims to eradicate food waste, is using Uber Direct to expand and optimise deliveries to their beneficiary organisations in the Western Cape. This ensures more food-vulnerable people are being fed daily and will further allow SA Harvest to expand their deliveries in Gauteng in the coming weeks.

Unlocking innovation and growth opportunities for business

People are looking for ways to get essential goods and other necessities delivered quickly and conveniently, while businesses are looking for an efficient way to reach their customers, however many may find themselves struggling to meet the demand at this time. Businesses can use Uber Direct to move their goods within their supply chain, and between locations to better balance supply and demand, ensuring customers receive their orders when required. 

Alon Lits, Director for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa explains, “This is our broadest effort yet to help businesses meet unprecedented demand for delivery, and helping people stay at home while still getting the items they need. Uber Direct also allows us to unlock economic opportunities for delivery people and drivers now and beyond the lockdown. Safety continues to be a top priority, and we are regularly providing drivers and delivery people with information to help them stay safe.”

This is just a start. Uber will continue to leverage their technology to quickly adapt and meet the changing needs of businesses and customers, wherever they are. Uber is ready to work with more cities, businesses, food banks, hospitals and others to move whatever matters most to them.

Organizations, healthcare providers and governmental entities looking for support with rides or deliveries can submit their request directly through this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd9ktLGv02WO9MEv849ClTgPMYQAAjT7kgKlKd3U8LuyQeRAw/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&dods