When the COVID-19 pandemic struck at the beginning of 2020, Philips Foundation stepped up its efforts to protect those communities most at risk. Notable examples highlighted in the organization’s Annual Report include:
- Healthcare equipment for Thunder God Mountain Hospital (China) – with the support of Philips China, the Philips Foundation donated urgently needed healthcare equipment with a value of approximately EUR 2 million to the newly-built Thunder God Mountain Hospital in Wuhan city to support the prevention and treatment of pneumonia associated with COVID-19.
- AI software to detect and monitor COVID-19 patients (South Africa) – with the help of implementation funding from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO, the Philips Foundation helped to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) software that deepens the analysis of chest X-rays to help the rapid triage and monitoring of COVID-19 patients in 11 South African hospitals.
- Machine learning and AI to identify epidemic outbreaks (Africa) - a donation by Philips Foundation to establish a Virus Outbreak Data Network in Africa aimed at improving the findability, accessibility, interoperability and reuse of digital assets, including data from Africa’s health systems to identify and contain COVID-19 outbreaks.
- Rapid deployment intensive care units (Italy and Lebanon) - development and procurement support to create 20-bed mobile ICUs that can be rapidly deployed to locations where COVID-19 threatens to overwhelm local healthcare infrastructures. With financial help from the AFAS Foundation and Noaber Foundation, two of these units were deployed to the Lombardy region and the island of Sardinia in Italy, and in collaboration with Philips Lebanon, the Lebanese Army, and the EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) organization, another was deployed in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut.
A full list of Philips Foundation’s COVID-19 response efforts is available on its website.
In addition to its COVID-19 response efforts, Philips Foundation succeeded in initiating new projects and keeping other ones going. Two examples that stand out are Philips Foundation’s joint initiative with UNICEF to fund and support the ‘Maker Innovation’ project in Kenya, and its collaboration with UK charity Global Action Plan to launch the ‘The Clean Air for Schools Framework’.
- Maker Innovation project in Kenya - a ‘change the system from within’ initiative aimed at achieving better mother-, newborn-, and child-health in low-resource environments, by fostering local hands-on innovation and entrepreneurship to locally create and manufacture solutions that meet local needs. The project’s ‘Maker Space’ is equipped with digital fabrication tools and equipment for use by students at the University of Nairobi. Through support from the Philips Foundation and training from Philips, the project has already resulted in the development of 19 medical device prototypes, seven of which have been judged suitable for further development.
- Clean Air for Schools Framework - a framework providing schools, teachers, parents and local authorities in the UK and the Republic of Ireland with an externally validated action blueprint for tackling air pollution in and around schools. With evidence suggesting that halving outdoor air pollution could result in a 20% to 50% reduction in the number of children with poor lung function , the tool was so well received that the blueprint is now being rolled out across Spain.