04.11.13

Samsung harnesses solar power to deliver telemedicine in Africa

AUTHOR: Inavate

Solar-powered videoconferencing will be used to deliver healthcare to remote African communities as part of Samsung Electronics' Digital Villages initiative. The programme, launched at the end of October in Johannesburg, South Africa, aims to harness solar power to integrate African communities' hospitals, schools, lighting systems and energy infrastructure.

Samsung hopes Digital Villages will “improve health standards, bolster education opportunities and increase the potential for people to lead economically independent lives”.

Solar-powered Tele-Medical Centres are designed to bring the expertise of skilled medical personnel to outlying rural areas of certain regions of Africa. 

It is constructed as a movable container to provide rural residents with convenient access to medical services. Videoconference facilities built into the centre connect patients being treated in remote regions with general hospitals in cities so diagnosis and prescription advice can be shared in real-time. The centre also features a database and server access for the management of patient data. 

The Digital Village also comprises a solar-powered Health Centre, Internet School, generator and LED lighting systems.

Samsung has also committed to building police and postal offices inside the premises of the Digital Villages, and using satellite communications.

The electronics company plans to build Digital Villages in three countries this year, beginning in South Africa and moving on to include Ethiopia and Gabon by the end of this year. Plans to expand the Digital Villages to local communities in more remote areas in co-operation with governments and international organizations are already underway.

Zwelethu Madasa, clerk of the Pan African Parliament, said: "Quality Education and Health are the two most critical challenges our many countries are faced with.  The Digital Village is an a plausible African solution to this challenge."
 
Hong SungYong, head of Samsung Electronics Africa headquarters, added: "We will work together with governments and international organisations to ensure that the potential of these Digital Villages is fully realised. We will deliver better education opportunities, greater medical access and improved economic self-sufficiency for people in Africa."