GOVERNMENT has set the tone for green energy power supply in all public health institutions with Chitungwiza Central Hospital having already piloted a solar power project.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
This comes as hospitals are having power hickups despite being on their special grid. Addressing members of the apostolic sect on New Year’s Eve at Chitungwiza Hospital,Energy and Power Development Minister Advocate Fortune Chasi said he has been discussing plans to power hospitals with solar with Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo.
I was happy hearing that Chitungwiza Hospital will be having solar power. This is something I am always talking about with the Health Minister.
“This is part of the government’s plans to remove hospitals off the grid to use solar energy. In the afternoon, batteries will be charged and in the evening the ill will not be in the dark along with the healthworkers,” he said.
He urged all hospitals across the country to get into the program of solar energy.
“As Government we will assist in any way we can. This can be in the form of licenses. We will have investors to chip in with assistance towards ending the power crisis. Doing this will save us a lot of money we are using to import electricity. The electricity saved will be used for farming and mining,” Minister Chasi said.
Health Minister Dr Moyo said Chitungwiza was selected to pilot this project.
“Dr Mayida said a lot of proposals regarding this project have been coming in. Chitungwiza is the citadel of Private Public Partnerships to assist the needy with health services. We signed partnerships allowing patients to get free medication, free xrays as agreed with the partner. Getting a CT Scan fetching ZW$2000, while here it costs ZW$250. We signed that lab tests be done for free here at Chitungwiza.
“We do these knowing our needy hence making agreements with partners that 20 percent of our patients should not pay,” he said.
Dr Enock Mayida the Hospital’s chief executive officer said a company from Japan expressed interest in the project.
A Renewable Energy Expert Christine Juta opines that while this is a laudable move by Government they should ensure durable quality batteries be installed.
” Due to the intermittent nature of Solar power, there would be need for the system to also have storage in the form of batteries,” she said.
She however noted the imprudence of displacing hospitals of their special grid.
” A lot has been invested in electrifying those hospitals which are connected to the grid. Makes more sense to tackle grid unreliability by having a hybrid system in the form a grid tied solar system,” said Christine.
There is an ongoing Solar for Health program by the United Nations Development Program which intends to ensure all hospitals in the country have sustainable clean energy.
Meanwhile, members of an apostolic sect led by Madzibaba Simbarashe Nengomasha donated food and groceries to Chitungwiza Hospital.