A total of 405 health facilities have been equipped with Solar systems to strengthen national systems for healthcare through a project dubbed UNDP’s Solar for Health initiative.
Under the program, UNDP is supporting the Zimbabwean governments to install solar systems in health centres and clinics in rural areas to reach underserved communities with the aim of ensuring healthcare for all.
Solar energy is also contributing to more resilient health systems. In Zimbabwe, in partnership with the government and the Global Fund, UNDP has equipped 405 health facilities with solar systems to strengthen national systems for health.
“The Government of Zimbabwe desires to have the highest possible level of healthcare and quality of life for its citizens regardless of their geographical location,” explained Clive Marimo – Director for Hospital Planning and Infrastructure in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Zimbabwe.
“The rolling-out of the Solar for health project tallied well with the ministry’s strategic plan of improving primary healthcare. Most primary healthcare facilities located remotely are off grid and the solar project transformed the services of such facilities where basic procedures were not possible due to unavailability of a power source,” he continued.
For example, maternal mortality is higher for women living in rural areas and among poorer communities. The installation of solar panels in Zimbabwe is helping to ensure that health care workers can reduce complications during and following pregnancy and childbirth.
“The issue of lack of power is no longer an issue at all,” David says now. “Pregnant women can deliver their babies in stable conditions.”
According to statistics, nearly one billion people live without electricity, and 50 percent of them are in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Energy poverty prevents access to healthcare for millions of vulnerable people around the world. Health clinics, maternity wards, surgery blocks, medical warehouses, and laboratories rely on electricity to refrigerate medicines, power the lights and operate life-saving medical devices. Intermittent or unreliable power source puts lives at risk.
“We are targeting four priority areas” said Pfungwa Mukweza, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, UNDP Zimbabwe. “The health information system, the cold chain, the maternity and the lab.”