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Empowering access to healthcare and education for all through smart tele-medicine, solar, and tele-education post-covid 19.

Providing access to education, healthcare, and power during and after the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent a wider gap of socio-economic issues.

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Solar-Fi Cares provides off-grid rural healthcare access at low costs by embedding smart, modular rural clinics within integrated community systems of care. Solar power is becoming more affordable, and regions endowed with renewable energy sources like solar are placed to leverage a decentralized, off-grid approach to energy access. Off-grid mobile clinics are increasingly playing an important role in maximizing reach remote communities while lowering cost barriers of healthcare access. Solar-Fi clinics are outfitted with basic medical equipment (sterilization systems, drug refrigeration, point of care diagnostics devices) delivered at low cost with a focus on sustainability.

We leverage public-private-partnerships to source medical equipment donated by private corporations. In any health strategy, community engagement is key. Solar-fi Cares collaborates with community-based health partners to enhance their patient engagement at the last mile. Many rural residents do not access preventive health care due to low awareness, and high indirect costs (of transportation, the opportunity cost of working). As a result, they often only seek healthcare services in an urgent situation and when it is most costly. Engaging with community health partners to provide education and outreach is critical for the high utilization of clinic services. Community engagement also makes health provision fiscally sound through adopting cost-sharing via community-based insurance schemes.

Our model also recognizes the role of technology to streamline patient operations and digital tools to connect rural health workers with urban hospitals. Patient records are managed via digital patient management platforms, which can be used across rural-urban health systems in cases of referrals.

Strategic approach:

This will be a two-pronged approach. It will entail financial and donations in kind resource mobilization, valued at 90 million Kes; and targeted preventive and health promotion activities for 18,000 most vulnerable families or households within Kibera/Kisumu/Mombasa. To achieve this, it has to urgently undertake the following strategies besides the right sizing. We can do more with less staff. We propose that HNP focus on 5000 HH with about 35,000 people over the next 3 years using cost recovery and revolving strategies to support start-up households (HH). We are proposing 5000 Kes investment per HH, providing a total project funding cost of 90m Kes. This is besides a 0.32 percent set aside funds for project support cost (estimated at 4.2m Kes annually). The exchange rate is $1.00 to 107 Kes.

Strategic focus 1: The emphasis will be on social behavior change communication for the whole household; and early stimulation and education for children 3-18 years. 

The Key activities will include, the following:

  1. Awareness-raising on Covid-19 disease, danger signs; home care practices;
  2. Health promotion activities – hygiene (handwashing); dietary practices, masking and prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCD);
  3. Mental health and stress coping activities and in-door games from social distancing;
  4. Early stimulating activities for children 0-3 years
  5. School inbox support and eLearning for children 3-18 years
  6. Telehealth strategy to provide assistance from doctors that may be far away. Distribution of COVID-19 Screening kits. SolarFi has access to 15-minute rapid test kits. 
  7. Making the project sustainable by addressing several of the UN’s SDG goals.
  8. Ensuring the promotion and adoption of eco-friendly measures where possible.

Strategic focus 2: The emphasis will be resource mobilization from individuals, corporate organizations (CSR), Institutions, and Government; besides strategic partnerships with some of these institutions in the implementation of the proposed activities.

The key activities will include:

  1. Mobilize Voluntary contributions - in cash and in-kind; along with community partnership
  2. County and national government investment and support (as part of the social safety net to the most vulnerable families)
  3. Private sector (Banks, Telecoms, Pharma and Major businesses) and the UN agencies strategic partnerships for social protection, access to IT services for families and their children; e-messaging; support to edutainment
  4. Income-generating activities and economic empowerment of identified and selected households from your database or Sacco in - a) soap making; b) face mask production; sanitizer retailing. This is besides ongoing initiatives such as water and sanitation services; laundry.

What is the need are you focusing on?

1) Social distancing and low uptake of health and social services - Patients are avoiding routine doctor check-ups and vaccinations because they’re afraid of being exposed to Covid-19. Most times, even if the patients want to come in, hospitals and clinics are asking them to stay home. If children don’t get vaccinated, that puts them at risk of vaccine-preventable life-threatening illnesses.

2) The weakening of the Health system and program coverage: - The Covid-19 pandemic may drag two other pandemics behind it. 

3) Economic collapse, rising poverty, and absence of social safety nets. The national low-income generation capacity, high debt burden, and limited fiscal space will push most families below the poverty line.

4) Continuing Education of the very young and adolescents at home.

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Identifying a gap that needs to be addressed
  • Sharing a pivot idea your organization is considering or could consider

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

Moving from solar-charging stations for mobile phones and providing internet access at kiosks. We will now use solar and the internet to power access to healthcare through telemedicine, and provide educational content through Tele-education.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

Save lives the reduction of COVID-19 disease spreading. Reducing the digital divide: A digital divide is an uneven distribution in the access to, use of, or impact of Information and Communication Technologies between any number of distinct groups. These groups may be defined based on social, geographical, or geopolitical criteria, or otherwise.

What is the name of your business or organization?


What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

Nearly 1 Billion inhabitants of Africa, 600 million people lack access to electricity. A primary solution to this power deficit is solar energy. SolarFi aims to connect the underserved and unconnected populations in Africa through solar-powered educational and phone charging stations. SolarFi connects people to solar power and WiFi, and payments can then be made through-out Africa on the SolarFi platform. SolarFi provides a “business in a box,” and the potential for promoting micro-franchises based on a solar-power-generating kiosk. The kiosk, can charge mobile phones, offer virtual top-up service to buy mobile airtime, prepaid utilities, pay taxes, and other bills. The booths also deliver the Internet.

What is your profession?

Social-Entrepreneur, economist, and medical technology expert.

Where are you located (country)?

USA, Jamaica, Ghana, and Kenya.

Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Entrepreneur/Investor
  • Engineering/Architecture
  • Healthcare/Medical
  • Non-Profit/Philanthropy
  • Social Work
  • Technology
  • Renewables and Solar

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 11-49

How old is your business/company?

  • 2-5 years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Social Enterprise

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- NGOs
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Private Sector
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Government
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Grassroots/Community Groups

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • No

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

1. Funding. 2. Although we know our partners, coordinating with stakeholders such as the government, community-based organizations, and arranging transport during the COVID-19.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

We've learned that people in the rural areas especially those in the informal sector are in dire need of telehealth, and education.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

Yes, we are part of the MIT COVID-19 Hackathon and a mentor to startups. We are also being supported by Henry Schein (the largest medical supplier in the world) and also collaborating with UMass Amherst.

Website URL A talk that was given at Microsoft.


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