Combining new technology and an age-old method of transport, communities in Kenya and Ethiopia may soon receive delivery of refrigerated medicines and vaccines from camels carrying solar-powered refrigerators. Reaching these remote areas is not only potentially expensive, but many regions lack electricity needed to safely refrigerate the supplies.
Although camels have been used for mobile health clinics for some time, the off-grid communities have not been able to receive medical supplies that require refrigeration. At least not until now!
The Nomadic Communities Trust recently partnered with California’s Art Center College of Design’s Designmatters and Princeton’s Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM) to create a lightweight solar-powered refrigerator that can be strapped to camels’ backs in order to transport chilled medicines and vaccines, as shown in the image above.
Solar panels on the top of the mini fridge provide power for the appliance, as well as lighting. A durable saddle houses the fridge, and is made of bamboo to minimize weight. It has to be able to endure many miles over rough terrain.
The special saddles and solar-powered refrigerators were designed on a lean budget and were first tested on camels at the Bronx Zoo. Currently, tests are being conducted on camels in Kenya and Ethiopia. However, the mobile health clinics could be implemented in any region with access to camels.
With a push for funding, the hope is that the solar powered refrigerators for mobile health clinics project will be implemented in 2010. If you want to donate to help the cause, go to the Population and Sustainable Network and click on donate.