Lukodi Health Centre – Solar Fridge / Freezer for Vaccines
Bright Futures works in partnership with established agencies primarily in Uganda, Kenya, India and Pakistan to provide vital education, health and development programs that address the causes of poverty and offer the prospect of a better life.
In January 2016, Bright Futures, in partnership with Bishop Onono Onweng Foundation, established the Lukodi Health Centre in the village of Lukodi in Northern Uganda. The health centre was a much-needed facility for local villagers in the Lukodi area
as the journey to the major centre of Gulu where healthcare is available is both difficult and, with no public transport, access is by walking or by motorcycle taxi which is expensive for these subsistence farmers.
Mosquito borne disease is rife in the area. The centre has a primary healthcare approach and a focus on reducing infant and maternal death rates. It provides preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services in Lukodi and beyond. A much needed maternity ward, funded by Bright Futures, is in the final stages of construction and will open shortly.
There is an urgent need for vaccine refrigeration. Lukodi Health Centre is currently unable to provide timely immunisations to those requiring it as they do not have refrigerated vaccine storage. Neonates in particular need immunisations immediately after birth. While the centre has a fridge, it runs off mains electricity which is unreliable and may only be supplied a couple of days a week. At times there is no power for up to a month. Solar is the only practical option and direct solar is recommended by WHO (World Health Organisation).
Bright Futures applied for a $2,000 grant from UCF to help meet the cost of purchasing a direct solar vaccine fridge which has an estimated landed cost in Northern Uganda of $4,500. This fridge/freezer has a holdover time, in the event of no sunlight, of 5 days at 43 degrees Celsius. A grant of $2,000 from UCF would meet nearly half the estimated cost of the vaccine fridge, solar panels and installation. Bright Futures is committed to providing the balance. The ability to safely store vaccine is critical to survival rates and the treatment of a range of life threatening diseases which are common in the region.
Purchase and installation of the solar vaccine fridge will allow vaccines to be safely stored and this will enable up to 15 newborns and 30 adults per month to receive timely vaccinations. Without question, providing access to vaccines and treatment in close proximity to those with life threatening illnesses, will inevitably save lives.
UCF directors were pleased to approve this grant of $2,000 to help install a much needed vaccine fridge. You can also read about their previous grant for the Hosur Bande health clinic.
UPDATE October 2018
UCF are pleased to receive an update of the just completed maternity ward at Lukodi Health Centre!
Paul Madden (Bright Futures Voluntary Executive Officer) writes:
This new facility is part of the Lukodi Health Centre established by Bright Futures and our partner group in Northern Uganda in 2016. Every month we see hundreds of patients at the clinic, which is in an area where there had been none previously, and this is having a big impact on treatment and survival rates for newborns, mothers and people with malaria and other life threatening illnesses. The Lukodi Health Centre is small and cramped for space and the new maternity wing will mean that mothers giving birth will not be in the same space as general patients and this will give them both privacy and contribute to a reduction in cross infection.
The vaccine fridge which you have so generously contributed to will further enhance the care given and make it possible for important vaccinations to be provided at critical moments. The solar direct vaccine fridge is on order and we are awaiting delivery – it takes an extraordinary amount of time for these things to happen in this remote part of the world but it is on the way. (Typically three months from order to delivery).
Blessings and thanks to you and all on the UCF Board – we are filled with gratitude for your kindness. Would you please pass on our thanks to all. I will send a photo of the fridge as soon as it arrives.
UPDATE December 2018
True to his word, Paul kept us advised and was even excited enough to send us a picture of a crate on the back of the truck! Yes, it was indeed exciting as it meant the solar fridge was on it’s way 🙂 Paul writes:
What an amazing Christmas present it is that you have given! It took a while to get there – all the way from China – but the vaccine fridge is in place in the Lukodi Health Centre.
Pictured below is Opiro Nyerere Onono, who is the CEO of our partner group in Uganda with the fridge in place and [another picture] the newly installed solar panel.
At a time of year when we celebrate the coming of new life and hope in the birth of Jesus, could there be any more appropriate gift than to protect and preserve the precious lives of newborns so that they might have an opportunity to grow into all they are capable of becoming? You have helped make this possible and we are so grateful.