The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation recently made public its decision to invest in the health of children living in remote areas of the globe. Given the living conditions in these areas, the toddlers living here require regular vaccination so as to have an up-and-running immune system.
The problem with vaccines and even other types of medicine is that they must be kept at a constant temperature, otherwise they either lose their viability, or even turn into harmful substances.
However, since refrigerators and even electricity are scarce – if not altogether absent – in these parts of the globe, preventing vaccines from spoiling before administering them can be quite tricky. This means that children often face health issues caused by the very drugs that were supposed to help them.
Rough numbers indicate that about 2.4 million children end up dying every year after having been injected with harmful vaccines.
These are the reasons why Steven McCarney's idea to build a solar-powered freezer was more than welcomed by the Gates foundation, which agreed to giving away around $100,000 (approximately €80,000) to make sure that this plan is successfully set into motion.
Earthtechling reports that, before going global, the project is to be tested in two Colombian indigenous villages in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Should McCarney's solar freezer prove their efficiency here, he will be given permission to build more and use them wherever they are needed.
Bob Freling, executive director of SELF (the Solar Electric Light Fund), where Steven McCarney is employed as a project manager, argues that “our pioneering work to power vaccine refrigerators with solar energy and without batteries—and now for the first time, freezers—provides a sustainable and reliable way to preserve vaccines and medicines in remote areas.”
Even if the main drive behind this project is that of helping children in need, the development of solar-powered refrigerators can also be considered a praise-worthy thing from an environmentalist point of view, given the fact that maybe someday such freezers could find their way out of remote villages and into our homes.