Near the end of July, four of our Teser team members began a long trip south and boarded planes for Quito, Ecuador. In a country that has been greatly struggling with growing COVID-19 cases and an overwhelmed health care system – just like much of its neighbouring countries in South America – the Ecuadorian leaders are looking for all solutions that can help them keep control of their outbreaks. But there are several factors beyond the pandemic itself that make Ecuador an excellent candidate for Teser’s first foray into the international market for our UV-C devices.
The Cooperation of Canada and Ecuador
Even before the pandemic began, Canada and Ecuador had an excellent relationship. In the early 2010s, the Canadian government helped fund the expansion and renovation of Quito’s airport, allowing for upgrades and better access for humanitarian, tourist, and other non-profit expeditions. The University of Alberta has a long history of sending dental and medical assistance to the country, helping disadvantaged youth in remote communities get the care they desperately need. In keeping with these traditions, we are continuing in the footsteps of a long line of Canadian partnerships in the country.
BDLS International Group, a business development and diplomatic organization from Calgary that has connected companies, governments and people around the world for over 30 years, helped facilitate the meetings between our team and Ecuadorian officials. Recognizing the potential of our product and our commitment to creating a better future out of these difficult circumstances, their assistance has been invaluable as we work towards a solution for those who need it most.
Overcoming COVID in Ecuador
With just half of Canada’s population, Ecuador’s health care system (ranked 111th in the world) is stressed – they can only test one-eighth of what Canada does, per capita, and they have over 40,000 confirmed active cases, compared to less than 6,000 here. This means the real number of infections is unknown, but likely much higher.
One of our core principles is that we want to make a difference in the world. Now that our units are ready to get moving, we are determined to bring them to places where they can make a big impact, and help avoid a complete overrun of their facilities and a breakdown of services. Our meetings with the Ecuadorian ministers of health, education, and tourism – through Zoom and in small, safe groups whenever possible – are our first steps toward helping underserved communities in these areas, where PPE is rare and acquiring more resources is expensive. And, with the assistance of a high-level university in Quito, we can be sure that every one of our revolutionary UV-C units will meet the standards necessary for work in the field, where verified quality and cleanliness is of absolute importance. When every piece of equipment and every minute matters, we want to push the limits of what frontline health care workers can accomplish.
A Strategy for South America
With just 5% of the global population, but 20% of its COVID-19 cases, South America as a whole is in need of major assistance with the pandemic. Another reason we are hoping for success in Ecuador is so that we can use that as a foundation and a model for future expansion into neighbouring countries, helping the whole continent recover in a shorter time.
That recovery won’t be the end of our work, though. Beyond COVID, the plentiful deep jungles and rivers of South and Latin America are infamous for the diseases they carry – yellow fever, dengue fever, influenza, cholera, and many more. These diseases run rampant in poor villages and rural areas, often transmitting from one person to another in common areas and on shared items. We have a dream to drastically reduce those transmission rates.
While tests are ongoing in order to conform to the high standards of Health Canada, we have designed our ACT-100 S3 and D3 units to help overcome not only the coronavirus, but many of these other pathogens as well. Our end goal is a UV-C device that outlasts the current pandemic and becomes a valuable ally in the ongoing fight against diseases of all types, on a global scale. So while Ecuador is a next step for us, it is also just the beginning of our work in the world.