Arizona State University Delivers Containerised Medical Centre to Uganda Refugee Camp
Arizona university has developed a containerised medical centre that provides clean water and sterile medical facilities to the desperate South Sundanese residents of a refugee camp in Uganda.
Background and needs
War in South Sudan in 2013 forced tens of thousands of people out of their homes and on the run to nearby Uganda. With virtually nothing to call their own and in dire straits, they set up refugee encampments just over the border from their home country, under the guardianship of the Ugandan government.
Refugee camps the world over are no holiday camps. They are places where people survive on the very edge of existence. The United Nations (UN) and local authorities have been overwhelmed with the situation and cannot provide even basics like clean water, decent food and medicine.
This is where the Arizona State University (ASU) containerised medical centre comes in. Developed jointly with the US Military, the 40ft container unit has two purposes – providing clean water for a 12,000 population section of the Ayilo II refugee camp, and decent general medical facilities for those it is there to protect.
While this equipment is there to save lives, its funding comes from an organisation concerned with ending them. ASU developed the project in conjunction with the US Military that has expressed the need for an off-grid turnkey medical centre with water treatment facilities during warfare. The US Navy contributed US $2 million to the project.
This unit however was donated to Medical Teams International which is working with the UN to deliver medial aid to the area.
The 40ft container unit has four zones – a 750 gallon water tank that uses ultraviolet to sterilise water from the local wells, and is used to supply the 12,000 refugees dependant on the unit with disease free water.
The other three sections are for medical facilities. It is all powered by a solar array that generates enough power to pump the water in, clean it, and run the different medical devices inside the unit. It also has a backup generator and batteries so it can continue to operate in all weather conditions, day and night.
According to the ASU website, “This project will save lives in Uganda,” said Joe DiCarlo, Medical Teams International’s global ambassador. “It will increase our capacity to serve people in need. It will act as a draw for new patients and our staff. “But the real game changer is that it comes with its own water purification system and solar power,” DiCarlo said. “Water and power are practically nonexistent right now.” Medical providers in settlements often need to provide their own power and water.
For those escaping the horrors of war in their homeland, something as basic as clean water and decent medical facilities is a great gift while they live in hope of being able to return to rebuild their lives and country when those at home finally lay down their arms and allow peace to return.