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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Solar-powered health system takes shape in Zimbabwe

Story by Yolanda Moyo

ZIMBABWE has taken a giant leap towards a sustainable and healthier future with the country boasting of the largest solar-powered healthcare facilities which are transforming the lives of millions of people.

The ambitious project, spearheaded by the Ministry of Health and Child Care in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is transforming healthcare delivery across the nation.

Over 1000 clinics and health centres in various districts have been connected under the ongoing Solar for Health (SH4F) initiative, with healthcare facilities like Mpilo Central Hospital and the United Bulawayo Hospitals, set to be connected by June this year.

Speaking on the success of the projects, UNDP Resident Representative in Zimbabwe Dr Ayodele Odusola lauded the collaborative effort.

“The Solar for Health initiative in Zimbabwe is the largest in the world because the initiative as of last month touched over 1000 clinics and health facilities in this country and we are in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care. We strongly believe that this will help the country meet the energy gap while improving health service delivery.”

Representatives from health facilities expressed their enthusiasm for the project’s transformative impact.

UBH’s acting clinical director, Dr Trust Mushawarira said, “The initiative is going to help us to have sustainable power and ensure all machines are running 24/7 as this means all clinical services are not going to be interrupted. It is going to cut the electricity bill and that means that the cost will be channelled towards clinical services.”

“Consistent electricity will revolutionize hospital operations, enabling uninterrupted functionality of critical equipment, improved lighting, and enhanced patient care. Procedures that were previously hampered by power cuts can now proceed seamlessly, day or night,” said Mpilo Central Hospital’s director of operations, Mr Joel Charangwa.

The Solar for Health initiative has opened up doors for skills transfer, creating local employment opportunities.

The Permanent Secretary for Presidential Affairs, in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Engineer Tafadzwa Muguti said, “What is important is to have a sustainable plan to maintain this. Today it is a huge project that has been put in place and we do not want to come back and find solar panels no longer working. This project created opportunities for locals in Bulawayo and the business community. Every high-impact project should leave a positive trail in the community.

“There is now a renewable energy industry and the relationship with ploy techniques should now transfer into a skills development programme for young people to be able to learn from this project,” added, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Skills Audit and Development, Ambassador Rudo Chitiga.

By embracing renewable energy, the government is fostering environmental sustainability and reducing reliance on fossil fuels in line with the country’s commitment to a greener future.

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