Lighting the path to a more equitable, healthier world


    April 7, 2021


    Yue Cui, Director of the Signify Foundation, explains why the focus of this year’s World Health Day is on building a healthier, more equitable world.


    On April 7, 2021, the World Health Organization observes World Health Day, a global awareness day to highlight and focus worldwide attention upon a priority area of concern in global health. This year’s focus is on building a fairer, healthier world for everyone.

    At the Signify Foundation, we recognize the extraordinary impact that light can have on our health and wellbeing. With the flick of a switch, it transforms darkness into places where people can work, learn and create.

    A year of turmoil


    The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect communities worldwide, but the impact is by no means evenly felt. Health infrastructures have been under exceptional strain for over a year, intensifying issues like poverty, food insecurity and increased gender, social and health inequities.

    Signify Foundation is committed to sustaining our efforts towards ending the imbalance that leaves around a billion people without access to electric light."

    Signify Foundation is committed to sustaining our effort towards ending the imbalance that leaves around a billion people without access to electric light. In the last year, we have rapidly adapted our response to the areas where we can deliver the greatest impact. As we observe World Health Day, we will take a moment to shine our own spotlight on some of the challenges we see in the communities where the Foundation is active, and what we are doing to address them.

    Lighting up health centers in Uganda


    When the sun sets, medical facilities in areas without access to the grid must operate in poor lighting conditions. In challenging crisis situations, such as refugee camps and areas impacted by natural disasters, solar lighting can provide life-changing, cost-effective, and sustainable relief.


    In Uganda, Signify Foundation works with Village Energy, a community-based solar expert and long-term partner. Village Energy has installed solar systems for 63 health centers and essential services all across the country. It provides quality lighting in treatment rooms, mobile lamps and street lighting for outdoor use, and the ability to charge mobile phones to keep communications operational, positively impacting the lives of around 500,000 people.

    Ugandan Covid relief hospital
    Read more here.

    Snuffing out kerosene in Tanzania’s fishing industry


    Globally, an estimated 1.6 billion people use kerosene as their primary source of fuel for lighting. This outdated technology is particularly prevalent in communities with poor access to electricity. The use of kerosene comes with health, safety and environmental concerns.


    In Tanzania, the Signify Foundation provided a recoverable grant to Sagar Energy Solutions to develop an innovative solar powered fishing lamp. The lamp is designed to replace the harmful and unsustainable kerosene fishing lanterns used by East Africa’s artisanal fishermen. Innovative financing structures like zero-coupon loans and recoverable grants enable companies like Sagar to scale its startups to meet production demand and spread the value of their environmental and economic impact.

    UV-C disinfection  Solar powered fishing lamp used by Tanzanian fishermenbeing used to disinfect self-scanners at EDEKA’s supermarket in Hamburg

    The power of light to disinfect


    UV-C lighting has been used for more than 40 years as a disinfectant for air, water and surfaces. UV-C breaks down the DNA or RNA of microorganisms including viruses and bacteria, rendering them harmless. It has proved invaluable in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. For example, in laboratory testing, Signify’s wall-mounted UV-C disinfection upper-air luminaires inactivated 99.99% of SARS-CoV-2 virus in the air of a room within 10 minutes. The virus that causes COVID-19 was below detectable levels at 20 minutes. 2


    From the start of the pandemic, Signify Foundation moved quickly in support of COVID-19 relief efforts by donating UV-C systems to help disinfect areas in healthcare facilities, such as waiting rooms, receptions, and corridors. Recipients included hospitals in China, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, and India. Read more here.


    The link between lighting and access to modern health care has never been more evident. In 2021, the Signify Foundation continues to focus on supporting healthcare infrastructures through access to sustainable energy and lighting. These projects showcase solar power as a viable alternative for communities underserved by the grid – a stellar example of technology leapfrogging from off-grid to clean tech.

    To learn more about the Signify Foundation, please visit our website.
    Tests were conducted with Philips UV-C disinfection upper air wall mounted luminaires. The overall dimensions of the test chamber were approximately 8’x8’x10’, compliant with Biosafety Level 3 standards.
    According to results obtained from a laboratory test conducted by Innovative Bioanalysis, a CAP, CLIA, AABB Certified Safety Reference Laboratory, in a room with sufficient air circulation. For more information, please refer to the test report available here.

    About the author:

    Yue Cui

    Yue Cui


    Director of the Signify Foundation


    For further information, please contact:

    For editorial enquiries:

    Signify Global Integrated Communications
    Neil Pattie
    Tel: + 31 6 15 08 48 17

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    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals, consumers and the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. In 2023, we had sales of EUR 6.7 billion, approximately 32,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for seven consecutive years and have achieved the EcoVadis Platinum rating for four consecutive years, placing Signify in the top one percent of companies assessed. News from Signify can be found in the Newsroom, on X, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors is located on the Investor Relations page.

    Meydan Bridge

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