Strengthening the health care capacity for refugee camps in Uganda


    March 12, 2021


    After reaching Uganda in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the many challenges of the healthcare sector – including poor and limited access to lighting.


    This not only impacts health centres and ambulance bases, forcing them to operate in the dark, it also hinders the overall functioning of the healthcare system as soon as the sun sets. Providing solar powered lighting to these health facilities strengthens the local capacity to serve the population impacted by COVID-19 in the immediate future, serving as a catalyst to a strengthened healthcare system for the longer term.

    This project, funded by the Signify Foundation in partnership with Ministry of Health Uganda, Village Energy, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) began in July 2020 – a crucial response to the COVID-19 pandemic, seeking to improve service delivery for Level III and IV Health Centers across Uganda.

    In addition to the solar home systems and lanterns distributed to the health centers, street lights were also installed so as to boost security and provide a safe working space for the healthcare workers during the night.

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    “At Ocea-C Health Centre III, the lights were strategically installed in the emergency reception areas, while two outdoor lights were installed, one near the makeshift tent that now houses the inpatient male ward, another was placed in the compound to light the path to the latrine facilities which health officials said has played a big role in improving the sanitation around the health center.”

    At the ward, patients were struggling, using mobile phone lights to go about activities, but the new outdoor light is now changing the ward and easing care for patients."

    "The health center previously had solar lights installed, however, we were told the system was faulty and kept switching on and off. So, from 6:30 up to about 8pm, the entire health center located on Muduuma hill some 20kms out of Mpigi Town, was covered in pitch darkness. The midwives resorted to using phone lights to help the mother put to bed. By 7:30pm, the engineers had managed to set up lights in the labour suite, the lavatories and a security light to lighten up the compound for easy access to the maternity ward. The outside light also turned out useful to other expectant mothers who took strolls around the ward waiting for their turn to be attended to.”


    This project has help electrify 43 health centers, a protection house, 8 help desks, staff quarters, and 3 base camps all over Uganda and has shown an improvement in service delivery at the facilities. It has also improved security at the health centers and facilities for the health workers and staff. Since the solar systems were installed, the health centers and facilities have been able to provide medical attention to patients for longer hours and have also been able to attend to emergencies during the night.

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    The health centers serve hundreds of thousands of people who are now able to access health services under improved conditions, with improved protection.
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    About the author:

    Martha Osiro

    Martha Osiro

    Program Manager, Signify Foundation, Uganda


    For further information, please contact:

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

    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.

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