Last week in Cape Town Samsung unveiled what some are calling Africa’s first-ever solar-powered mobile health clinic, built in Johannesburg at a cost of $250,000. The seven-meter-long vehicle contains fully-equipped ear, eye and blood clinics as well as a dental surgery unit. Later this year the company plans to add on a mother-and-child clinic that can provide 4D ultrasounds and even deliver babies. Spokesperson Koa’ Modimoeng says the company is meeting the challenge of providing healthcare to more people: “[O]ur existing healthcare system is overcrowded. We are trying to ease that burden.”
What’s the Big Idea?
The mobile clinic is one of several technological innovations created by Samsung under its “Built for Africa” label to serve the unique needs of the continent’s rural populations. Another innovative design, a solar-powered Internet school, has been operating in several countries since 2011, reaching an estimated 7,000 children. Solar power in general is growing in popularity in South Africa, says Samsung executive Leonard Tleane: “The costs are coming down…You walk into the townships these days and almost every house has a solar geyser.”