Sun-Powered Mobile Clinic Could Revolutionize Rural Healthcare

Life in a rural Africa isn’t easy. Remote villages lack access to electricity, clean water, and most importantly, healthcare. Samsung recently unveiled its solution to the last of these problems at the Africa Forum in Cape Town, South Africa. Billed as Africa’s first solar-powered mobile health center, the vehicle could make it possible to bring much-needed health care to the six in 10 people in sub-Saharan Africa who live in rural areas.

Only approximately 20 percent of the South African population is served by private medical professionals, with the public health sector struggling to cater to the remaining 80 percent of the population. Outfitted with energy-generating solar panels, the mobile health centers are capable of providing a range of eye, ear, blood and dental medical services to the public.

africa, healthcare, Samsung

Image via US Army Africa/Flickr

The roaming health clinic is just one element of a larger launched by Samsung recently. The South Korean company’s “Built for Africa” campaign, an effort to develop modern mobile technology that will meet the unique needs, resources and conditions of the continent.

The $250,000  mobile health center was constructed in Johannesburg, reports The Guardian. “At the back of the truck is a small soundproof booth with a chair, light and pair of headphones. Outside the door sits a ‘screening memory audiometer’ with a laptop and printer.” The 22-foot truck also contains a fully equipped eye and blood clinic and a dental surgery. The facility would enable testing for HIV, malaria and numerous other conditions, said Kea’ Modimoeng, of Samsung. Results would be available immediately, and patients could be issued a prescription before they leave the clinic.

While the solar panels power the lights, television, and smaller appliances, the rest of the equipment still relies on an inbuilt generator using unleaded fuel or a power plug.

In the next 10 weeks, Samsung plans to add a mother-and-child clinic capable of 4D ultrasound scans and delivering babies, according to the Guardian. Samsung says that it wants to reach one-million people through its solar powered health centers by 2015.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

    • Anita Chambers

      In reference to the statement, “Billed as Africa’s first solar-powered mobile health center” — Our company, Odulair LLC (www.odulair.com) is the world’s leading provider of Mobile Clinics and has been offering 32 ft (10 meter) and 40 ft (12.2 meter) partially solar-powered Mobile Clinics for Africa and globally since 2008. We’re glad to see that another company (Samsung) is joining Odulair in understanding the potential that solar-powered mobile health centers provide in very remote regions.