Solar Camel-Back Clinic From Mpala Project

The solar-powered camel-back clinic is the result of a joint effort between the Kenyan Mpala Community Trust and the undergraduate engineering department of Princeton University. The centerpiece of the project is an ingenious solar-powered refrigeration system for medications, carried by camels.


(Camel back clinic, with solar powered saddle)

The project serves the health needs of people in two of the poorest and most remote districts in Kenya (laikipia and Samburu). Many of the people who live there are nomadic, making it difficult to provide health care; Samburu has no paved roads at all.

How does integrated mobility work?

Vehicles transport supplies to camels, and camels transport supplies to remote areas, where local health staff travel by bicycle and foot between camel camps and communities, providing "door-to-door service." Traditional camel transport is efficient and cost-effective on these trips, which typically last two to three weeks. Other organizations have attempted to deliver services to remote communities in Kenya, but none have succeeded. Vehicles have also been used to deliver health services, but because they have not been integrated with camels and bicycles, these efforts have failed to undertake the final leg of the journey to remote communities.

What does the mobile health clinic technology consist of?

The system Art Center has developed uses a lightweight (4.5kg) 70-watt unisolar multi-junction panel to create the energy needed to cool medicine carried by camels in a 12-volt dc-powered refrigeration unit, with excess power going to a 50-amp-hour sealed lead battery. The multi-junction solar panel is unique and practical for the camel clinic system: it is flexible, lightweight, unbreakable and made of a foldable canvas material.

It is hoped that this system will work in other isolated parts of the world. The backpacks designed for camels could easily be adopted for use by donkeys or horses.

Ha! Just when I despaired of finding an sfnal reference for this cool story, I remembered the giant lizards carrying shield generators in Star Wars:


(Gungan animals carry giant shield generators)

See also this interesting Donkey 'Motorcycle' video if you like animal-technology hybrids.

From Integrated Mobile Health Clinics for Remote Communities in Kenya via Core77.

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