In Uganda, renewables are making the future brighter

Enel Green Power’s solar energy together with the humanitarian commitment of EMERGENCY at the new pediatric center in Entebbe, Uganda, an outstanding medical facility designed by an outstanding architect, Renzo Piano. We have donated 2,500 photovoltaic panels to guarantee the stability of the electricity supply and help ensure the continuity of essential hospital services.

A beautiful hospital built using sustainable materials and powered by renewable energy: this is the new center for pediatric surgery inaugurated by EMERGENCY just a few weeks ago in Entebbe, in the district of Wakiso, Uganda. The center was built thanks to a generous contribution from Enel Green Power, which donated 2,500 3SUN solar PV panels to the facility, with the aim of reducing the costs of purchasing electricity, supplying a part of the facility’s energy needs with renewable energy and reducing the consumption of energy from the grid.

The structure is located just over a kilometer from the shores of Lake Victoria and has been designed to become a key reference point in a country where almost a third of child deaths occur due to the lack of adequate surgical treatments. The center will treat, free of charge, children affected by congenital malformations, urological and gynecological problems, anomalies of the gastro-intestinal tract, pathologies of the bile duct and cleft palate, and will benefit young patients from across the continent.

 “The best way to help Africa is to build the same things there that we’d like to have here in Italy,” explains Gino Strada, surgeon and founder of EMERGENCY. “We went to Uganda with all the expertise, equipment and technologies necessary to perform high-level surgery in an extraordinary facility. We are all part of the human community and as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, we are ‘equal in dignity and rights’. We have a responsibility to provide medical treatment to an African child in exactly the same way we would an Italian child.”

Cutting-edge treatment and assistance

The center, which has already welcomed its first patients, is on the cutting edge not only in terms of the medical services it offers but also concerning its architecture. It was designed, in fact, pro bono by the StudioRenzo Piano Building Workshop in partnership with TAMassociati and the Building division of EMERGENCY. Spanning almost 10,000 square meters, the structure houses three operating rooms and 72 beds, including six intensive care beds and sixteen sub-intensive care beds; an observation and stabilization room; six outpatient clinics; an X-ray department; a laboratory equipped with a blood bank; and a CAT scanner.

The hospital complex, which will have a full staff of 400, also includes various other buildings that house a pharmacy, administration offices and auxiliary services, a guesthouse for foreign patients, a welcome area and health education zone, as well as an outdoor play area.

Environmental sustainability and renewable energies

Particular attention has been paid to environmental sustainability. All of the walls, for example, have been built using a traditional construction technique called pisé, which uses raw earth that can keep the temperature and humidity levels inside the building constant. Enel Green Power also donated 2,500 solar PV panels to the hospital and organized the final layout of a 276.36 kWp plant that was integrated into the architectural design by Studio Renzo Piano, installing the system onto the roof and completing the electrical connections to the internal hospital network. A medical structure of this type needs a constant supply of electricity, and the photovoltaic plant contributes toward this goal, reducing the consumption of energy from the grid.

 “The installation of the photovoltaic plant on the roof of the hospital was a decisive step for the sustainability of the project, given that this meant that there was no impact on the surrounding land. It is the result of intensive teamwork that enabled us to integrate it into the project, combining technical performance, energy efficiency and beauty,” explains Paola Terzi, Project Manager Engineering & Construction at Enel Green Power.

“It was a long and challenging project, which required frequent discussions between us and EMERGENCY and no lack of obstacles to tackle, but in the end we always managed to find a point of agreement that enabled us to complete this important achievement,” concludes Tiziana Del Gaizo, Innovation Focal Point for the Africa – Asia – Oceania area at Enel Green Power.