Dulas pioneered the concept of solar powered refrigerators in the 1980’s and has remained at the forefront of the industry since then. With projects funded by organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and GAVI (the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation), Dulas supplies its refrigerators to health facilities across the world. Dulas’s products are designed for places where the electricity supply is either intermittent or non-existent. Stringent WHO accreditation procedures ensure their refrigerators offer a secure cold chain, keeping precious vaccines at the correct temperatures to preserve their viability. As a result, many millions of people have received vaccinations who would not otherwise have access to them.
Leading vaccine refrigerator manufacturer Dulas has created an online learning facility, the Dulas Academy, to ensure that essential training that supports their vital products can take place despite the travel restrictions brought about by the global pandemic.
An essential element of Dulas’s service is the provision of training for local installers and end-users to ensure that the equipment is set up and operated correctly. Prior to the pandemic this training would have been conducted in the field. COVID-19 travel restrictions, and a desire to reduce climate emissions, provided the drivers to develop the Dulas Academy. Establishing this platform to deliver training over the internet ensures that Dulas refrigerators will continue to be supported without interruption and that essential vaccine distribution is maintained.
Working alongside Zing, an agency experienced in building Learning Management Systems, and with the help of valuable funding from the Welsh Assembly Government, Dulas has created a complete online training programme in the form of videos, slide presentations and downloadable information. Courses are offered to participants according to their level of experience, and cover all aspects of installation, operation, and maintenance of either solar direct drive or mains powered refrigerators. Successful completion of a test at the end of each course earns the student an official certificate.
Catherine McLennan is Dulas’s Account Manager for International Projects and played a leading role in developing the Dulas Academy. She explained: ‘Now more than ever we understand how crucial vaccinations are in protecting us from disease. The more people who are vaccinated globally, the greater the protection for everyone; but vaccines can only work if the cold chain that distributes them is reliable. The best way to do that is to train the people who install and use our equipment, so that they can do their job to the best of their abilities. The Dulas Academy is the perfect means to ensure such essential training continues to be carried out, regardless of the impact of the pandemic.’
Andrew Rowbottom, Senior Renewable Energy Engineer at Dulas has been delivering Dulas training programmes in person across the world for many years. He notes that ‘Just as education here in the UK has gone online to enable learning to continue during the pandemic, so we have taken our training online. The beauty of doing this is that training becomes possible anywhere in the world where an internet connection exists. Many of the countries where our refrigerators operate have enthusiastically adopted mobile internet technology, making access to the Dulas Academy perfectly feasible in even quite remote locations. As well as making it possible to continue training while travel restrictions exist, the Academy also enables us to greatly increase our reach. Now more people than ever can obtain training in the installation and use of our refrigerators, directly from us the manufacturer. This will improve the long term reliability of the equipment, saving vaccines, and saving lives”