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20 July 2020

Covid-19 : 1000 solar lamps

While nearly 500,000 cases have been identified in Africa, and the pandemic has already claimed more than 400,000 lives worldwide, a worsening of the spread poses a major risk in those countries where the health facilities are fragile.

To respond to this health emergency, a first stage consists of the “1,000 individual solar lights” project, currently being carried out at this very moment, notably in Togo, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Madagascar.

A major global crisis

The pandemic has killed more than 400,000 people worldwide (as of June 2020) since its appearance in December 2019, according to a report by Agence France-Presse.

"

On est en face d’une crise humanitaire, sociale, avant d’être en face d’une crise économique. L’urgence, c’est de sauver des vies, d’éviter des souffrances et notamment pour les gens les plus âgés et les plus faibles."
Pascal Lamy, ancien directeur général de l'Organisation mondiale du commerce

While the Covid-19 epidemic in developed countries is hitting populations hard and undermining health systems, the poorest countries are likely to be even more seriously affected.

Inequalities in health systems are being accentuated

Currently, there are nearly 500,000 confirmed cases in Africa, including 1,045 in Burkina Faso and 8,544 in Senegal (as of July 2020), with a rapid growth in the number of cases every day. A worsening of the spread therefore constitutes a major risk in those countries where the health infrastructures are fragile.

Lack of access to electricity and water reinforces these fragilities. Faced with power outages in the most modern facilities, and the use of candles or other energy sources in the least well-equipped, health centres are now facing an even greater influx of patients.

To improve the conditions of access to healthcare, solutions that are environmentally friendly and are easy to deploy exist, even off-grid.

Over the past few years our teams have intervened in more than 200 health centres. Our actions have already made it possible to fight against this virus:

A first response to the emergency is being deployed

To respond to this health emergency, initial work – identifying the needs of local health facilities – was carried out by Electriciens sans frontières’ teams.
The first stage consists of the “1,000 individual solar lights” project, currently being carried out at this very moment, notably in Togo, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Madagascar.

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The aim of this solution is to compensate for insufficient lighting in some health facilities and to allow caregivers to visit patients in the evening or even at night.
In addition to this immediate emergency action, Electriciens sans frontières’ teams are preparing their medium-term interventions – to strengthen or rehabilitate electrical installations in health facilities. These actions have been incorporated into French NGOs’ response being overseen by Coordination SUD.

Actions towards refugee populations are also being prepared, with the aim of limiting the disease’s transmission and strengthening their self-sufficiency on the ground.

The first donors to support this action: Neoen, Gimelec, our specific donors, the Schneider Electric Foundation and the Lagazel organization.

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