PRESS RELEASE: Innovation Grant to Fund Solar Powered Ambulance In Conflict Zones
Geneva, Switzerland -
On Tuesday September 25, UOSSM was awarded a $250,000 innovation grant by ‘Grand Challenges Canada’ to develop the HIRS (Health Integrated Resilience System) for medical aid in conflict zones. The HIRS project will combine solar energy, electric ambulances and tele-medicine to deliver life saving aid in the world’s most challenging war zones.
The project was driven by the harsh realities of a conflict zone. The purchase of fuel in war zones like Syria is difficult, dangerous and expensive. The unavailability of fuel can be the difference between life and death for patients, who depend on life saving equipment like incubators, or ambulances to attend to the wounded. Purchasing diesel, often controlled by armed groups, ultimately perpetuates violence and the war economy.
The HIRS project also utilizes telemedicine to address the knowledge and qualified human resources gap in conflict zones like in Syria, where many medical staff have fled and at least 730 have been killed in the past 7 years. “By integrating telemedicine into hospitals and clinics, our staff can communicate instantly and obtain the support needed from physicians and specialists around the world.” Said Dr. Monzer Yazji, Co-Founder of UOSSM International.
The HIRS project is an extension of the ‘Syria Solar’ project, a pilot solar power system where UOSSM installed 480 solar panels in the largest hospital in northern Syria in May 2017. The project saves over 7,000 liters of diesel per month. With the success of the pilot, plans are under way by various active partners and entities to install solar power in 40 medical facilities in northern Syria by summer 2019.
Once the three-component resilience system (combining solar, electric vehicles, and telemedicine) is developed and implemented, the knowledge resources resulting from the field application will be shared through an open-source platform. The goal is to continue the mission of strengthening health systems for local communities around the world.
The project was announced publicly on Tuesday September 25th at a presentation at the Concordia Conference in New York, by Dr. Monzer Yazji. The ‘Humanitarian Grand Challenge: Hope In Conflict’ received 615 applications from 86 countries and will award $5 million in funding collectively to 23 applicants.