|GTK-V -> Resources -> RFPs -> South Africa RFP -> Technical Background|
Due to prevailing economic and environmental conditions, the people of South Africa and other, less-developed, sub-Saharan regions require a method to quickly and efficiently distribute vaccinations and medical care. Currently, even hospitals in the larger cities have insufficient labor and transport resources to care for people in more remote, underdeveloped areas. The vehicles currently available to them are not specialized for rough terrain, and are not equipped with the Sustainable Power technology necessary to make extended trips into the wilderness.
Our proposed solution makes use of solar (Photovoltaic) cells to help add energy to existing Sport-Utility Vehicles (SUV). This source could be used to power internal systems such as refrigeration and lights, and to keep the vehicle's batteries charged. This would also create less of a strain on the vehicle's engines, allowing it to venture for extended periods, into far-reaching territory, and help more individuals. Such technology has already been put to use for powering internal systems on campers and RVs, letting them stay out longer and making them more energy-efficient. However, the nature of the territory we wish our vehicle to cover makes the more rugged design of a SUV more appropriate in this case.
While the use of RVs as mobile hospitals and clinics has been applied in urban areas, such as the medical mobile unit vans used as clinics for homeless in Dallas Texas, SUVs and trucks have chiefly been used as long-range ambulances and rescue vehicles. Jeeps and off-road vehicles are mainly used for medical purposes by the military, and such vehicles will serve as a practical basis for the final design of our mobile dispensary vehicles.
Our first step will be to select a SUV model currently in production which will fit our needs. We will have to add simple, minimal modifications to the existing design to implement the solar cells and required medical equipment, such as a vaccine freezer. The design will have to incorporate requirements for extended trips, such as emergency fuel reserves or a larger fuel tank, and provide sufficient clear roof space for the solar panels while still securely storing the required medical equipment, perhaps on the sides of the vehicle. The medical hardware installed within will also need to be scrutinized, adapting it to place minimal drain on the vehicle's power reserves so that its useful range can be maximized.
Alternately, we could work together with an existing South African vehicle manufacturer, submitting our designs and having them implemented at the source. This plan would save shipping costs and guarantee skilled manufacturing processes and maintenance for our mobile medical centers.
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