Build Health International: High-quality Healthcare Where It’s Needed Most

Build Health International is a “design-and-build” nonprofit organization with a mission “to enable dignified, affordable and high-quality healthcare for all.” They are committed to providing modern healthcare infrastructure to vulnerable communities worldwide. BHI specializes in planning, building, equipping, and operating facilities, as well as the energy systems that power them in low-resource settings. Their evidence-based approach allows them to expertly adapt their services to each community’s specific healthcare needs, providing care—and employment—where it’s needed most.

From the planning process to construction and, finally, the day-to-day operation of a functioning healthcare facility, connectivity is essential to BHI’s mission. Since BHI tends to operate in areas with little to no coverage, establishing a consistent connection is a challenge. But thanks to Peplink and FrontierUS channel partner Access Wireless Data Solutions, BHI retains the mission-critical connectivity they need.

Success Factors

Remote management

Solution must support remote—even international—management.

Easy to deploy

Deployment and operation must be straightforward enough for staff to manage without training in network administration.

Multiple SIM cards

In order to provide failover to ensure as constant a connection as possible, solution must be able to integrate at least 2 SIM cards from different cellular providers.

Multi-WAN support

In addition to a cellular connection, the ideal solution would integrate multiple connection types (including fiber) for failover and bandwidth bonding.

Technologies Utilized

A range of Peplink devices and technologies, including:

● Peplink MAX Transit Duo

● Peplink Mobility 40G Antenna

InControl 2

SpeedFusion Technology

Provide Unbreakable Connectivity.
Partner with FrontierUS and Peplink.

St. Rock Hospital

Keeping the Lights On

One of BHI’s specialties is providing solar arrays like the one that helps power Wesleyan Hospital on La Gonâve Island, Haiti. Working with state-of-the-art solar technology from Tesla and SMA Solar Technology, BHI Director of IT and Special Projects Andrew Jones quickly realized connectivity was essential to the functioning of the equipment.

A BHI solar project at Hôpital des Enfants au Niger
A BHI solar project at Hôpital des Enfants au Niger

“As the technology advances, internet is needed for firmware updates, remote monitoring, remote management, and sometimes just for pieces of equipment to communicate with each other locally,” said Jones, “and without an existing infrastructure, they cannot.”

Jones began researching potential cellular solutions.

The ideal device would allow for at least two SIM cards to provide both a primary internet connection and failover backup. Jones also needed remote access for local network management.

“Through a few strokes of luck, I ended up on Len’s [Luttinger, of Access Wireless Data Solutions] doorstep, and he told me everything I needed to know [about Peplink],” said Jones. “We now have a MAX Transit Duo on the island, and it’s running nicely. It’s great to know that when the internet connection goes down—and there are a lot of reasons it can go down—the Peplink device is not the problem.”

The Internet Box

As it turned out, the reliable high-speed internet connection provided by Peplink products opened up more possibilities for BHI and their partners than expected. Understanding the value connectivity provides to healthcare workers and facilities, BHI developed the “Internet Box,” a Peplink-based solution designed to be easily deployed and operated on-location.

The same is true for collaboration during the planning and build phases of BHI’s projects. For example, one of BHI’s primary solar technicians is based in Spain. “Getting him to Haiti can take a week of travel. With the Peplink VPN, he can be ‘in front’ of the equipment in a matter of seconds,” said Jones.

Aside from sheer distance, conditions on the ground can necessitate remote work. During the Wesleyan project, security issues in Haiti led to restricted travel into the country. Thanks to the Peplink VPN, though, the project went ahead as scheduled. The hospital, run by World Hope International, is now energy independent with access to reliable power, reduced operational costs and a dramatic decrease in their carbon footprint.

The Pepwave MAX Transit Duo and the Internet Box
The Pepwave MAX Transit Duo and the Internet Box

Connectivity Where It’s Needed

Mounting a Pepwave Mobility 40G antenna
A team member in Haiti mounts a Pepwave Mobility 40G on a pole to boost connectivity.

For BHI, one of Peplink’s major differentiators is SpeedFusion, Peplink’s enterprise-grade bandwidth bonding and VPN technology. Even in places with exceptionally poor connectivity options, like the community in Saint Rock, Haiti, SpeedFusion provides a better connection.

“With permission from the partner, in this case the Saint Rock Haiti Foundation, we always try to set up a guest network for individuals who are trying to call home or update loved ones elsewhere in the country,” said Jones. “In Saint Rock, we have two SIM cards and a single fiber connection, and we’re using SpeedFusion to bond them. In our last speed test, the hospital had more bandwidth than our office in Beverly, Massachusetts.”

Constant connectivity has even increased the quality of care available, as hospital staff are able to consult with outside experts and resources that would otherwise be unreachable. “It provides an additional layer of support that enhances clinicians’ ability to do their jobs day to day and deliver critical care” said Sarah Sceery, BHI’s Director of External Relations and Engagement.

What have healthcare facility workers themselves had to say about their Peplink devices’ performance? Not much. “But I can see in [Peplink’s cloud-based device management platform] InControl 2 that the six devices we currently have are always online, and the US-based partner organizations are glad they can finally reliably reach their staff,” said Jones. “No news is good news.” With a reliable connection, these essential healthcare workers are free to go about the business of saving lives.

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