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New ideas lead to success

02.08.2018 - Article

A repair service for medical equipment saves lives, unbureaucratic financial aid enables small enterprises to get competitive. Three examples of how people in Nepal, Mexico and Malawi benefit from innovative projects.

Hospital in Nepal
Hospital in Nepal© dpa
Repair without long waiting time

"In the past, we often had to send our patients away from the hospital, put them off or advise them in an emergency to move to expensive private clinics - whenever our equipment was defective, X-ray machines were not working, ultrasound or dialysis machines had failed. The only technicians who were able to carry out these repairs were in Kathmandu, about 380 kilometres away. Until they came to us - our clinic with 350 beds is located in Biratnagar in southeast Nepal and is relatively large - it often took days, sometimes weeks.

Today it is different. The Nepalese Ministry of Health has set up a mobile repair and maintenance service via the German development bank KfW with financial support from the German Government. As a result, workshops are now strategically distributed throughout the country where qualified engineers and technicians work. We can call them anytime. The specialists are often here within half an hour, complete the repairs in a few hours - and we can treat our patients on the same day.

The technicians now also come to us regularly to service the devices - they record their data via tablet, store it in a central database and ensure that the devices are always monitored and ready for use. Our five dialysis machines are now working perfectly. Our work has improved enormously as a result. We treat about 1000 patients a day. In the last six months, since we have been able to use the mobile service, we have not had to send a single patient away. That's a good feeling for us doctors."

Start-up support for SMEs

"CHG-Meridian provides technology management services worldwide. Our approach goes beyond that of a traditional leasing company: not only do we look after the financing of our clients’ investment projects, but we also help them choose and implement new technology assets and manage their investments during the productive phase, up to and including their resale.

We have about 100 clients in Mexico, ranging from lime growers to breweries to hospitals. With DEG – the German investment section of the KfW, we thought about how we can support the country’s ongoing economic development. Leasing is an attractive option, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises, to update their technology for example. We therefore decided to work together to develop our offering. With this in view, DEG provided us with two loans totalling 40 million US dollars. The project is innovative in that KfW subsidiary DEG is not just investing in a single large project: by cooperating with us it finances a varied range of small and mid-sized businesses. We, in turn, can support clients even before they start production, without businesses having to start repaying their loans at such an early stage. Local banks often cannot afford that.

We are also the ideal partner for subsidiaries of German companies, which account for about a third of our clients in Mexico. Their German house banks are often unable to offer financing abroad. In 2017, we invested more than 60 million Euro in Mexico, over 25 percent of it refinanced through DEG."

Malawi - school in Dzimbiri
Malawi - school in Dzimbiri© dpa

Concentrated learning with tablet

"At my primary school in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, we have 968 pupils and 19 teachers. There are often more than 80 children in our classrooms, sometimes 120 and in some schools in Malawi even up to 250, so it is of course difficult for the children to concentrate or for us to specifically support individual pupils.

But we are lucky. Since 2013 we have been part of the project "Unlocking Talent through Technology in Malawi": A learning centre has been set up in our school - with 30 tablet computers on which pupils can work independently. Since then we divide them into groups and send them to the learning centre every day. There, each child has the tablet to himself for half an hour a day. The digital teacher asks questions - in our language Chichewa - and the pupils answers them. The examples in the exercises are also adapted to our living conditions.

The children are doing well! Above all, however, they learn at their own speed, which would hardly be possible in large classes. In normal lessons we can observe later that the children participate much better. Some contents are already known to them and they can repeat and apply them. The pupils are motivated and enjoy coming to school because they come along better. Sometimes even pupils from other schools come by who would like to learn on the computer themselves.

We are pleased about this – especially because the German Government will support the project in the future through KfW. This support will enable 200 additional learning centres to be set up, where around 200,000 pupils will benefit from the new opportunities."

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