Scotland Funds South-South Solar Solutions for Blantyre-Blantyre Lab

11 Feb 2021
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A new solar energy technology is to power the Blantyre-Blantyre Research facility, within Malawi’s College of Medicine. This exciting initiative has been made possible through SMP Member Professor Paul Garside, Dean of Global Engagement at the University of Glasgow winning funding from the prestigious Scottish Funding Council’s, Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)   The Blantyre-Blantyre Research facility re-fit which has been funded by the Scottish Government is now complete and is a state-of-the-art laboratory with the latest microscopy, diagnostic, and cryo freezing storage facilities.  The new funding will provide the facility with all of its power needs and will also roll out solar power training to community groups and other agencies in Malawi.

 
Prof Garside and Dr Mwapatsa Mipando, immediate past Principal of the College of Medicine (and expert contributor to the SMP’s COVID-19 Zoom meetings) have teamed up with Ms Eunice Ntobedzi, a University of Glasgow graduate and 2019 winner of its World Changing Alumni award. Ms Ntobedzi is CEO of Botswana-based Africa Sun Energy Ltd and aims to bring inexpensive solar power to more than 660 million Africans who are currently without access to electricity.
 
Dr Mipando said:
 
I am so excited to see that our Blantyre Blantyre Research Facility will utilise clean energy and thereby be an exemplar in our country and the region.  This project is a giant step in our quest to become an environmentally friendly campus. We look forward to working with our colleagues from Scotland and Botswana.
 
Ms Ntobedzi commented:
 
This funding has come at a crucial time for the health sector in Southern Africa where, unfortunately still, many health facilities do not have access to reliable and affordable clean energy to enable them to maintain basic services. This is even more significant as the possible vaccine required for the treatment of COVID-19 will require a level of temperature control to maintain their efficacy. This project at the College of Medicine will be a demonstration of a new clean energy service which addresses the needs of health facilities, not only in Malawi but in the entire region as well.
 
Prof Garside reflected:
 
This is absolutely fantastic to see one of our world changing alumni from Botswana helping to deliver clean energy and expertise to an important new clinical research facility developed with our partners at College of Medicine in Malawi. A real example of south-south collaboration.