Using solar power to promote healthcare and education is the concept behind Samsung’s Digital Villages, a project recently launched in South Africa as the kick-off a larger plan that includes units in Ethiopia and Gabon by the end of 2013. The Digital Village is also designed to help local traders develop their business with a sustainable and low-cost alternative to fossil fuels.
One of Digital Villages' components is called Tele-Medical Center to provide healthcare to inhabitants of remote villages who lack access to this type of service. The center covers basic operations such as diagnosis and prescription. As it is connected to a database and a server, patient data can be shared and managed online.
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Another section, Health Center, provides more technical health care with eye, ear and dental treatment, blood analysis and diagnosis. Education is also part of the project with the Internet School. Teachers have touchscreens at their disposal, which are powered by the solar panels installed on the roof. Students have access to solar-powered netbooks for their multimedia classes.
Samsung is not working alone on this initiative, having forged several partnerships to carry out the project. It has drafted in support from government, civil organizations, local health authorities, universities, relief NGO World Vision (healthcare) and UNESCO (education).
"We will work together with governments and international organizations to ensure that the potential of these Digital Villages is fully realized." Hong SungYong, Head of Samsung Electronics Africa Headquarters, said at the South Africa launch, according to a press statement. "We will deliver better education opportunities, greater medical access and improved economic self-sufficiency for people in Africa."