Airlink, Qatar Airways, join forces to bring solar power to health facilities in Uganda

UGANDA – Airlink, Centre for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), Qatar Airways, Flexport.org, and We Care Solar have joined forces to bring reliable sources of solar power to health facilities in Uganda.

We Care Solar is a non-profit organisation with the mission of saving lives in childbirth by increasing clean energy access to health centres.

Since 2010, We Care Solar has been achieving this through the design and distribution of their Solar Suitcase, a compact and easy-to-use solar electric system.

Solar Suitcases are distributed to last-mile health facilities and provide medical lighting and power for mobile communication and small medical devices, such as foetal Dopplers and infrared thermometers.

The medical devices include rechargeable batteries, extending the usage of potentially lifesaving devices.

Not only does this provide healthcare providers the ability to safely and efficiently care for their patients, but it increases the hours in a day that patients can be treated and with more patients being treated and monitored, health systems increase their capacity to limit further Covid-19 infections.

Increasing access to reliable electricity has become even more important in the global response to Covid-19.

When critical shipments of Solar Suitcases required faster transit to We Care Solar programmes in Uganda, Airlink was able to coordinate movement alongside its partners.

“To date, We Care Solar has equipped over 1,400 health centres in Uganda, serving an estimated 26 million people”

With generous support from the Centre for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), Qatar Airways, and Flexport.org, 232 Solar Suitcases and required materials were transported to Uganda to support health facilities in Western Uganda as part of We Care Solar’s Light Every Birth Initiative.

In countries with pre-existing shortages of medical supplies and critical materials to maintain essential services, the presence of Covid-19 has added further strain.

Airlink’s non-profit partners are identifying gaps in healthcare provision and leveraging their expertise to respond where it is needed most, distributing personal protective equipment (PPE), increasing testing capacity, delivering lifesaving pharmaceuticals, and empowering frontline health facilities and community health workers.

According to a review from the World Health Organization (WHO), one in four medical facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa does not have access to electricity and even when facilities do have access to electricity, frequent power outages compromise health workers’ ability to properly examine, diagnose, and treat individuals requiring life-saving services.

Health providers are forced to rely on kerosene lanterns, candles, and cell phone lights that they hold in their mouths to perform complicated procedures and working in near darkness, health workers cannot safely provide essential services or maintain infection control protocols.

Through these partnerships, Airlink provided cargo movement, valued at over US$60,000, free of charge.

The shipment will increase equitable access to electricity, which will provide lifesaving medical care to patients in need.

To date, We Care Solar has equipped over 1,400 health centres in Uganda, serving an estimated 26 million people.

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