It’s a great day to save lives: why we decided to enter the health sector in Africa
The spread of the Covid-19 virus throughout Sub-Saharan Africa has drawn stark attention to the various problems of rural health services across Africa. With under-developed infrastructure, the lowest number of doctors per capita in the world (as low as 2.2 per 10,000 people, less than ⅙ of the global average) and over 90% of properly trained medical staff working in the big cities and hospitals, morbidity and mortality from both communicable and non-communicable disease is the highest in the world. According to the World Bank Group, the sub-Saharan population accounts for only 11% of the global population, but bears 24% of the world’s disease burden.
There are 98,745 documented remote health centers in Sub-Saharan Africa today, currently serving over 600 million people — 6,000 people on average per health center. The majority of the centers are severely understaffed, underequipped, and lacking the most basic infrastructure, with only 28% having access to “reliable electricity” (according to McKinsey). Due to these deficiencies, entire communities are insufficiently diagnosed and treated, with hospitals often hours and even days away. Without a scalable, sustainable and affordable solution, bridging those gaps will remain impossible.
The solar sector has been highly influential in the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region over the past decade, revolutionizing many developing economies. Using an available, affordable, and safe resource — sunlight — Ignite has connected over 1.4 million people to electricity for the first time, bringing them into the global economy and establishing powerful new business models.
Now, Ignite is making the inevitable connection between the solar and health sectors, and bringing designed-for-solar medical technology to all communities, creating an even bigger impact on the lives of millions.
Introducing the Designed-For-Solar Medical System (DSMS)
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, recently estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic drove “2 years of digital transformation in 2 months”, and we could not agree more. Over the last few months, Ignite Power has accelerated two years of research and development to allow us to support rural medical teams in Africa in their response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Our designed-for-solar medical system (DSMS) is the key to our provision of support. We are providing the most remote health centers with reliable electricity, connectivity, and advanced, solar-based technologies, allowing for much better diagnosis and treatment. This immediate impact is clear, and the potentially infinite, for the DSMS from Ignite Power.
On top of the advanced solar systems, which allows for reliable and sustainable electricity at all locations, the DSMS includes the following technologies:
- The SDS-16, which conducts a wide range of non-invasive blood tests and allows for fast, smart and affordable detection. The device provides laboratory-grade results on the spot, while eradicating the need for costly and lengthy laboratory tests.
- The Energy-Efficient X-ray Diagnostics Kit (SDS-X1), which provides high-quality imaging and interpretation on the field, addressing Covid-19, TB, and medical-related emergencies.
- The SDS-US1, which allows remote medical teams to run advanced ultrasound tests while enjoying support and analysis, addressing pregnancy-related risks, heart and lung conditions, and more.
- Advanced Connectivity Solution (via a strategic partnership with SpaceCom, a leading operator of communication satellites), enabling full online connectivity to all clinics and health centers, allowing for training, consultations, and guidance at all times.
The DSMS devices provide vital data and analysis, based on AI algorithms, supporting local teams by raising “red flags” on patients showing suspicious indicators for a wide range of communicable and non-communicable diseases, including COVID-19. Taking only 4 minutes per test, a basic health center can diagnose up to 240 patients per day, providing them with targeted treatment, and reducing hospital patient load during the pandemic and far beyond. Accumulating to a maximum of over 7,000 examinations per month per device, every health center can serve the entire community.
We believe that medical services are as essential as water and electricity and deserved by all, regardless of their location and financial status. This reality has never been more glaring as the COVID-19 pandemic tragically threatens and takes lives across the globe, necessitating innovative medical solutions.
Through the DSMS, Ignite Power is revolutionizing the healthcare sector in Africa to create a healthier future for both African rural populations and, at the same time, the solar sector. We are deeply committed to impacting the lives of tens of millions of people through advanced technology and sustainable power, and lead Africa and the solar sector into a healthier, more inclusive, future.