AERIAL bombardment to hospitals – bringing many facilities out of service – is one of the many problems faced by the health system in North Syria, and sometimes in other conflict areas.
The energy infrastructure was damaged, and many areas that became outside of government was cut off from electricity. What emerged is the reliance on diesel fuel. Diesel generators, and particularly diesel fuel – has become also the central piece of the war economy – creating a vicious cycle of dependency, fragility, and conflict.
Towards solving this problem – we have developed and implemented a pilot solar PV project in one of the critical hospitals in Idlib and Aleppo regions in Syria.
Solar PV can help reduce the dependency on fuel, while ensuring that the critical department and services, like emergency departments and Intensive Care Units have electricity on 24/7. However – We realized that the health system would require a lot more than simply solar energy to be resilient.
We decided to focus on 2 other problems faced by the health system:
Mobility within the health system (ambulance and vaccine transport vehicles): which also depending on fuel and conventional internal combustion engine.
Human Recourses: Gap in qualified health professional at all levels.
In leveraging clean and advanced technology – we decided to integrate with solar power 2 solutions:
Electric Vehicles as alternative to conventional mobility for Ambulance and vaccine transport
Modular Telemedicine to bridge the gap in qualified health professionals
Through this project, which we call HIRS – short for Health Integrated Resilience System – the objective is to leverage clean and advanced technologies to improve the resilience of health system in conflict areas. Why is this important? Because the basic systems that people depend on medication, vaccine, for care, should not be jeopardized by external variables. The ingredients that make those systems work can and should be localized and strengthened.
In Syria, the integration of all three components can be implemented, piloted, tested and explored holistically. The methodologies developed, processes, designs, and most importantly the scalable model can share publicly through open-source platforms with partners around the world for them to build on the experience and advance integrated resilience for health systems – particularly leveraging the HIRS multi-dimensional approach on power, mobility, and human resources. Other dimensions like health supplies, and the adoption of 3D printing as means for hyper-localization can be applied and integrated – a dimension that is pioneered and open-sourced by numerous innovative entities and professionals.
Our goals through this project are not limited to Syria – but we eventually aim to build a platform that opens-up the knowledge resources for humanitarian and development practitioners to use it and strengthen health systems anywhere in the world.
As many progressive countries and municipalities pass regulations to achieve 100% renewable energy and 100% electric vehicle by 2030 or 2050 – We can only be encouraged by this needed momentum – but we see this transition not only as a conscious attempt to reverse and combat the catastrophic climate change caused by our emissions – but we also see in an opportunity to adopt a decentralization strategy for localizing the things that make our systems work and that empower local communities – In our case, we see it as an opportunity to make the health system resilient, strong, and independent. It’s with the democratizing force of renewable energy, coupled with affordable electric vehicles and advanced telecommunication for collaborative and intelligent telemedicine – and more importantly with the right model that works: we can humanize technological advancements for the people who need it most.
We believe that if it’s possible to transition systems to 100% renewables, with EV as means of mobility – and reducing travel through advanced telecommunication systems – in the most difficult of places – we see that the potential for the rest of the world to do same as logical and necessary – especially in light of the urgency to meet the climate goals for deep decarbonization.
Medical Service Providers
This Project HIRS is implemented by UOSSM and supported by Creating Hope in Conflict: a Humanitarian Grand Challenge.