SAMSUNG Africa Forum, Samsung Electronics Africa launched its Solar Powered
Health Centre model in Cape Town, marking the start of a large-scale
medical initiative on the continent. The mobile centres are built for
use in remote rural areas, and intended to eliminate the economic and
geographic barriers that prevent people across Africa from obtaining
quality medical treatment.
The Solar Powered Health Centre is designed to reach as many people as
possible, as regularly as possible. Mounted on a truck and manned by
qualified medical professionals, the centres will move from one area to
the next providing a range of eye, ear, blood and dental medical
services to the public.
“There is still much to be done in South Africa to educate people about
the importance of basic preventative medical screening and treatment.
What many see as minor health issues will not only get worse over time,
but will affect other aspects of quality of life. The child that cannot
see properly cannot learn properly” says Dr Mandlalele Mhinga, medical
expert, and Trustee and active member of the Nelson Mandel Children’s
Hospital. “Mobile solutions help address this issue by making medical
services accessible to more people in rural areas, and educating them
about health care at the same time. When corporates come on board and
partner with government by using their unique expertise to contribute to
a better society – we see powerful results”.
Samsung has set itself a goal to reach one million people through its
Solar Powered Health Centres by 2015 – as part of its broader CSR goal
to positively impact the lives of five million people in Africa by 2015.
According to the World Bank, more than 60% of people in Sub-Saharan
Africa live in rural areas. These people often lack the time and
resources to reach clinics for proactive medical care, and particularly
if they are ill and unable to make long journeys. In South Africa, only
approximately 20% of the population is served by private medical
schemes, with the public health sector struggling to cater to the
remaining 80% of the population.
“We have been providing medical services to rural areas in Africa for a
few years now through our annual Employee Volunteer Programmes”, says
Ntutule Tshenye, Business-to-Government and Corporate Citizenship Lead
for Samsung Africa. “This experience has shown us how desperately
medical treatment is needed across the continent, and inspired us to
develop a sustainable and innovative solution to reach the people who
need it most. While our CSR strategy in Africa is largely focused on
education, our efforts to enrich lives will not be felt if people’s
basic needs, such as access to healthcare, are not met.”
A large focus will be placed on screening people to establish conditions
such as diabetes, high blood pressure, tooth decay and cataracts. The
centres will also focus on educating communities about health issues and
encouraging people to take tests as preventative measure. Medical
products will be provided by Samsung’s partners on this project,
including the Department of Health and pharmaceutical companies. Other
partners will include medical universities, and organisations that are
involved in health care like World Vision, and Doctors without Borders.
Samsung Africa’s broader CSR strategy involves a sustained focus on
three key areas: education, healthcare, and rural connectivity – in line
with the company’s global ‘Hope for Children’ initiative
In addition, Samsung Africa focuses on developing products that are
built specifically for African conditions in an effort to improve lives,
as seen in its ‘Built for Africa’ product range. To ensure it is able to
continue to meet consumer demand on the continent; Samsung’s education
programmes, which include the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy,
Samsung Solar Powered Internet Schools, Samsung Solar Power Generator,
and Samsung eLearning Centres, are geared at supporting the development
of African thought-leadership and the advancement of electronics
engineering on the continent.