Philips supports lighting and healthcare in Ghana

Philips supports lighting and healthcare in Ghana

Global diversified health and well-being company, Royal Philips, in partnership with the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB), is to install 26 “Community Light Centres” in Ghana out of 100 planned for Africa, over the next five years.

The Community Light Centers, sited in off-grid rural communities, are areas of approximately 1000 square meters lit by solar powered LED lighting and aim to demonstrate how the new breakthrough solar technology can enable social and economic development for rural communities.

Philips Africa CEO, J. J. van Dongen, while announcing the initiative during the Accra stop of Philips’ fourth consecutive Cape Town to Cairo Roadshow, was optimistic that the initiative will support the promotion of education and healthcare provision in Ghana.

He disclosed that a new Philips Community Light Center will open at the Islamic Training Institute on Kanda Highway in Accra, thereby enabling and supporting the KNVB’s WorldCoaches programme and their efforts for better Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) in schools in Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique.

The WorldCoaches programme trains local football coaches in using football for social development, focusing on communities in developing countries.

The Football for Water Sanitation & Hygiene programme (WASH) is aiming at better WASH-facilities in approximately 400 schools in Ghana and the training of around 1,000 P.E. teachers with Football and WASH Life Skills. Other partners in that programme are UNICEF, Simavi, Vitens-Evides International and local Ghanaian companies such as New Energy and Ghana Water Company.

Philips also announced the start of a unique healthcare project in Ghana: “Touching 1 million Ghanaian lives by 2020.”

The initiative aims to make preventive screening available to expectant women by providing ultrasound-imaging equipment including training of healthcare professionals, maintenance, and technical support to 10 healthcare facilities across the country.

In Ghana, community health centers often lack the imaging equipment and training in order to provide this basic antenatal screening care and early diagnosis.

Of an estimated 358,000 maternal deaths occurring worldwide in 2008, 99% of them were in developing countries. In Africa, maternal deaths are often from preventable complications that could have been avoided if women had access to antenatal care in pregnancy and skilled care during childbirth.

The project will be executed in phases in close cooperation with key local stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health, through which Philips aims to contribute towards the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality.

“Ghana is our hub for our West African business. We have been here for over 60 years and have been operating with the Ministries of Health as well as Ministries of Energy in the past and more than 100 hospitals in Ghana are serviced by Philips engineers in terms of medical equipment,” van Dongen said.

The “Touching 1 million lives by 2020” initiative falls under Philips’ collaborative “Fabric of Africa” campaign, which drives public-private partnerships to improve healthcare access across the continent and is closely linked to Philips’ vision to improve the lives of 3 billion people a year by 2025.

The initiative will be conducted in two phases. During the first phase, Philips will provide the Ministry of Health with a Philips ClearVue 350 ultrasound machine and all inherent services for the duration of the programme, including local technical management, execution support, and training of healthcare staff.

Education and training of healthcare professionals will be central to the success and sustainability of the programme.

For the second phase, Philips will extend the programme to nine healthcare facilities across the country and contribute an additional nine ultrasound machines over a period of two years with the ultimate goal of impacting one million mothers and children by 2020 who currently have limited or no access to basic healthcare screening.