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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Solar-powered solutions for rural communities

Memory Chamisa

Rural communities in the Umzingwane District of Matabeleland South Province have been impressed by the Second Republic’s commitment to availing affordable and quality healthcare services.

A reliable source of power is an important driver of timely and adequate health care, especially in maternal health.

Due to power outages being experienced in the country and the region, some women in rural communities have had to give birth under candlelight and torches resulting in complications.

To address power challenges, especially in maternal health, the government through the Ministry of Health and Child Care supported by the UNDP-Global Fund has reduced the urban-rural inequalities in health care.

The Solar for Health Project has witnessed over 1000 facilities against a target of 1 600 benefiting, and rural women have benefited from the programme which has not only lit delivery rooms but has also afforded them dignity during childbirth.

A beneficiary told the ZBC News, “When I came with my daughter there was no electricity and she had to give birth under candle-light, which in this day and age is not something you expect but this solar power has changed all that as the lights are always on also making it easier for nurses to perform their duties.”

Another said, “I am grateful to the government and UNDP for pregnant women quality healthcare to all especially maternal health.”

Esigodini District Medical Officer, Dr Marambire Sinaravo applauded the initiative which has given a new lease of life to the maternal health sector.

“The Solar Project has been of great help, especially in the maternal health department. Women used to come here with candles and torch lights and it was a situation that was improper especially if complications arose, we would end up going to the provincial hospitals, in the process congesting the centre. However, the solar installation has greatly improved our operations, the resuscitation of babies and the use of oxygen tanks have saved lives. We have a total of 63 deliveries on an average month which will increase with constant power supply as we will be carrying out minor operations.”

The Solar for Health Project has significantly addressed the higher maternal mortality that exists in rural areas.

Meanwhile, to ensure continuous use of the new solar installation and the sustainability of the project, communities have taken it upon themselves to maintain and safeguard the solar systems from vandalism and theft.

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