Re­new­able en­ergy for pow­er­ing PHCs

Sunday Trust - - VIEWPOINT - Tunde Sal­man, is the Con­vener of Good Gov­er­nance Team, a Nige­rian civil so­ci­ety ad­vo­cacy and mon­i­tor­ing plat­form

Since the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) pi­o­neered the de­ploy­ment of var­i­ous types of en­ergy sources over the last four decades for the vac­cine cold chain for its ex­panded pro­gramme on im­mu­niza­tion, it has be­come very ob­vi­ous that so­lar en­ergy tech­nol­ogy would play crit­i­cal role in pro­vid­ing al­ter­na­tive power source to en­sure good qual­ity and safe vac­cine stor­age in re­mote health cen­tres. In­creas­ingly, ev­i­dence has crys­tal­lized that “the in­tro­duc­tion of so­lar power has the abil­ity to sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove health­care de­liv­ery to poor and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

“Reg­u­lar and re­li­able pro­vi­sion of elec­tric­ity to health­care fa­cil­i­ties is im­por­tant for their ef­fec­tive op­er­a­tion. In many de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, over one­half of health­care fa­cil­i­ties have no elec­tric­ity or lack re­li­able elec­tric­ity.”

It is a com­mon knowl­edge that Nige­ria’s power gen­er­a­tion, trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion in­fra­struc­tures are not com­men­su­rate with the en­ergy de­mands of the pop­u­la­tion (in­clud­ing re­li­able elec­tric­ity for health­care fa­cil­i­ties). The ques­tion there­fore re­mains: what is the pro­por­tion of health fa­cil­i­ties with re­li­able 24-hour sup­ply of elec­tric­ity in Nige­ria? What is the elec­tric­ity need of com­mu­nity health fa­cil­i­ties? What is the im­pact of lack of ac­cess to re­li­able elec­tric­ity on our health out­come in Nige­ria (par­tic­u­larly in ru­ral ar­eas)? This is nec­es­sary be­cause, most of our Prim­rary Health Care (PHC) fa­cil­i­ties lack ac­cess to re­li­able elec­tric­ity. Even the low­est health fa­cil­ity at the level of a post or dis­pen­sary re­quires be­ing con­nected to na­tional grid and or other reg­u­lar al­ter­na­tive power source. Health fa­cil­i­ties de­pend on ac­cess to re­li­able elec­tric­ity for func­tion­ing at night, op­er­at­ing di­ag­nos­tic equip­ments, pump­ing wa­ter, vac­cine stor­age, and man­ag­ing haz­ardous waste ma­te­ri­als, etc.

Ac­cord­ing to re­new­able en­ergy ex­perts, so­lar sys­tems have sev­eral ad­van­tages; they pro­vide flex­i­bil­ity to de­sign that can cater to the power load of a health cen­tre, re­li­a­bil­ity of per­for­mance, crit­i­cal loads such as vac­cine re­frig­er­a­tors, and ser­vice to re­mote or hard to reach ar­eas where ac­cess re­lated chal­lenges are most acute.

As sev­er­ally pointed out at many stake­hold­ers’ lev­els, “ac­cel­er­at­ing de­ploy­ment of re­new­able en­ergy to health cen­tres is a need of the hours”; more­over, “pow­er­ing health sys­tems through re­new­able en­ergy such as so­lar could ad­dress en­ergy (sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment goal 7) and health (sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment goal 3) con­cerns si­mul­ta­ne­ously.” The avail­abil­ity of re­li­able and reg­u­lar elec­tric­ity to run 24 hours health ser­vices at the pri­mary health­care cen­tres is crit­i­cal if the goal of uni­ver­sal health cov­er­age would be reached.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.