Solar systems for rural clinics

18 January 2018 | Health

Solar systems were installed at five rural clinics in Namibia during December to provide constant and cost-effective access to electricity.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Namibia collaborated with Global Fund and the health ministry on a global initiative called Solar 4 Health to install the energy photo-voltaic (PV) systems at the clinics.

The funding was facilitated by Global Fund and is aimed at supporting governments in improving access to quality health services. By providing cost-effective access to electricity the systems will assist vulnerable communities in mitigating climate change and poverty conditions.

According to the UNDP, Namibia is geographically located in a sunshine-rich region and solar-powered energy systems are ideal for providing low cost reliable electricity.

“Effective solar power solutions are a way in which the Namibian health system can increase its resilience to the challenges presented by climate change, including extreme weather events such as droughts that affect conventional sources of electricity,” the UNDP said in a statement.

The various clinics that have been equipped with PV systems through the project include Okaukamasheshe and Uutsathima in the Omusati Region as well as the Eiseb, Klein Aub and Kalkrand clinics in the Hardap Region. In addition to the PV systems, two mobile TB diagnosis clinics equipped with solar power features were leased by UNDP Namibia to conduct the nation's first TB survey from 29 November to 5 December last year.

The clinics effectively use solar energy to assist in providing rural communities with cost-effective, reliable and sustainable power solutions. The medical staff at these clinics are better equipped to provide the much needed health services in these parts of the country.

Namibia is a step closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 17 as set out by UNDP Global.

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) operational framework for building climate resilient health systems highlights the need to take a broad approach to mediate the challenges of climate change, including a focus on renewable energy in health facilities and utilising innovative technologies.

STAFF REPORTER

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