COVID-19 emergency support package to electrify health centres in Africa

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An emergency relief fund to provide healthcare organisations on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa with reliable power has been awarded to a solar home system provider, Lumos.

Lumos is one of four renewable energy companies selected to receive a share of the $500,000 relief fund from Nigerian off-grid energy impact investing company All-On, established by Shell. Lumos is coordinating its response with the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Society for Family Health.

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Solar home systems are being deployed to critical healthcare and emergency response centres across Nigeria, to immediately support the public health crisis during the outbreak.

In Nigeria, less than 33% of households and 30% of businesses have reliable access to grid electricity. Many healthcare facilities, whether pre-existing or new COVID-19 emergency response centres, suffer from a similar lack of reliable power, which severely hampers their effectiveness in responding to the crisis.

Doctor Anthony Iwala, Social Franchise Director, Society for Family Health, stated: “We are pleased to receive this very significant support from Lumos and All On. It is an exemplary intervention that will facilitate the success of the fight against the virus. Electricity from their solar systems will ensure staff are properly kitted, able to prepare instruments and medication without compromising infection prevention protocols.”

The solar systems will provide an alternative power solution to health centres and rapid response teams without access to reliable electricity. They will be used to power basic necessities such as lighting, fans and computers, ensuring that essential services are able to respond to the crisis, supply testing kits, and deliver urgent medical care.

Adepeju Adebajo, CEO, Lumos Nigeria commented: “COVID-19 is an unprecedented crisis, putting millions of lives at risk. Reliable, affordable and clean electricity is vital to running life-saving equipment in hospitals and training essential workers. The All-On fund is enabling us to react exceptionally quickly. Lumos has the products and the trained staff on the ground to install solar systems, which will allow key workers to test and treat patients with the virus and save lives.”

Dr. Wiebe Boer, CEO, All On, commented: “All-On investee Lumos was selected to be part of the COVID-19 Solar Relief Fund based on their immediate preparedness to respond with products, inventory, technical capabilities and their efficient nationwide delivery track record.”

According to the solar home system provider, the Nigerian government has imposed a complete lockdown on three states and over two thirds of states have curfews or movement restrictions in place. Lockdown poses a huge threat to millions of businesses and the Nigerian economy as employees do not have access to reliable energy to work from home.

In addition to the All-On fund, Lumos has rapidly adapted its business to deliver its high-tech solar home systems to Nigerian businesses that are in desperate need of power.

The organisation has introduced a ‘Work from Home’ initiative for businesses to provide employees with solar systems while they’re working from home. A Nigerian bank has signed up to the initiative, to allow its managers to have access to the bank’s online network and perform critical transactions.

Alistair Gordon, Group CEO, Lumos, commented: “COVID-19 is sadly forecast to have as devastating an effect on the economy as it has on health. The same skills and capabilities that have allowed Lumos to respond so promptly to the needs of the Nigerian healthcare system, position us exceptionally well to support the economic recovery efforts once the lockdowns are lifted. Energy is a core pillar of economic growth. To ensure sustainable economic recovery and enable prosperity after this pandemic, it’s crucial that we provide clean and reliable power for everyone.”

Nigeria’s economy depends on over 37 million MSMEs that contribute 48% of Nigeria’s GDP and account for more than 84% jobs in the country.

New independent research carried out by CDC Group found that out of those of Lumos’ customers using the system for income-generating activities, 80% saw an increase in their income.

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