Our Impact

Exploiting the potential of solar-powered cooler for vaccine and perishable foods storage in remote areas of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)

Thematic Area: Minerals, mining and materials engineering

University: The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST)

Project Leader: Dr. Juma Rajabu Selemani

Collaborating Partners: Tshwane University of Technology (TUT): is a higher learning institution in South Africa and an international partner in this project; Arusha Technical College (ATC) based in Arusha – Tanzania

Duration: 24 months

Project Overview


Vaccines are cost effective method of preventing diseases, improve production activities and limit transmission of diseases. Vaccines are fragile, some of them need low temperatures. Failure to keep vaccine properly can reduce vaccine potency decreasing protection against disease leading to revaccination and financial loss. Health services inequities in most of rural Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), are prominent, and access to vaccines is limited. Insufficient cold storage facilities, high cost of storage facilities and lack of stable electricity are some of the challenges limiting vaccination in rural SSA. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing exceptional human and economic loses globally. Discoveries of vaccines against the COVID-19 virus is important stage in saving lives and economic loses. Storage of COVID-19 vaccines is a challenge to SSA located away from major transport links and refrigeration facilities with unstable power supply. Poor storage of vaccines is expected to increase economic losses and leave 3 billion people without access to COVID-19 vaccine mostly from rural SSA. Additionally, postharvest storage of food stuff is another challenges in agricultural sector in SSA. Estimates shows that poor handling of agricultural products can cause postharvest loses of 20% for cereals, 30% for dairy and fish and 40% for fruit and vegetables.

The technology

More than four decades insulated containers with cold or frozen water packs have been used to store and transport vaccines and food stuffs in rural SSA which increased number of discarding improper handed vaccines leading to financial loss and death. Therefore, this project intends to develop a portable environmental friendly, low cost cooler which will use renewable solar energy for storage of vaccine and perishable food staff.

Expected Impact

The cooler from this project will increase accessibility of vaccine in rural SSA, reduce number of discarding vaccines and saves people’s life. Storage of perishable food stuff will increase production and income to farmers

For more information, please contact the Project Leader.