10.12.14 - Hospitals and Electrical instabilities: African and Swiss researchers tackle a seriously neglected problem.

Power systems in most African countries suffer from many problems that compromise the availability and quality of the power supply, cause numerous breakdowns and fires, damage the electrical appliances and are likely to expose people to dangerous incidents. This situation is more critical in hospitals and other health centers where lives are concerned. From November 17th to November 21st 2014 , an international seminar was held at the CURES center in Yaoundé regarding electrical problems in the hospitals of the future emerging countries.

The seminar addressed this crucial issue related to the safety, reliability and efficiency of electrical systems, through theoretical and practical courses in the laboratory and in a district hospital. It was animated by two lecturers from EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), a general manager of a Swiss SME (Enerplan SA), 3 lecturers and a researcher at the ENSPY (Ecole Nationale Supérieure Polytechnique de Yaoundé). The 24 participants, selected by a careful evaluation of their application, came from six African countries and 11 different universities. The seminar helped initiate close collaborations between not only universities in different countries, but also with the private sector and the ministries of energy and health. A first concrete result will be an agreement of collaboration between the ENSPY and the University of Fianarantsoa in Madagascar, which leads right now to a six months research internship for two Malagasy PhD students in the CURES.

During the discussions at the seminar, it was unanimously agreed upon that there are technical solutions to this problems, but they must be complemented by the support of the government (regulations and incentives) on the one hand, and the creation of companies equipped with adequate measuring equipment and which can yield viable mandates and the other hand.

The University Research Center on Energy for Health Care (CURES) is a research center created jointly by the EPFL in Switzerland, the ENSPY in Cameroon and the Polytechnic School of Montreal in Canada. It is based in Cameroon and its main aim is to solve the problems related to electrical instability in primary health care.