What does it mean for rural health clinics to have stable access to power?

Innovation Norway and the Norwegian solar energy company Differ travelled to Zambia for a series of site visits. Differ have earlier this year installed energy solutions in various health clinics  as a part of the UNDP Solar 4 Health Program. The site visits were filled with powerful impressions and a strong sense of urgency. What does it mean for rural health clinics to have stable access to power?

Approximately 50 people come by this health clinic every day. This is the waiting room. 

Approximately 50 people come by this health clinic every day. This is the waiting room. 

Foto: Innovation Norway

It means that the only health worker does not have to roll his motor cycle into the birth room to use the headlamp when a baby announces its arrival at night. It means that the health worker does not need to drive for 1,5 hours to pick up vaccines every time a child is to be vaccinated. It means that vaccines and other medicines are available during the rainy season when the river floods and makes it impossible to reach the neighboring village. It means that the local people around Chisakila Health Post actually use the clinic and receive information and help with birth control and infectious diseases.

 

   

This type of solar solution is an innovation project. To assess the effectiveness and functionality it is important to understand the current situation, challenges and framework conditions. Here with UNDP interviewing the health worker at the clinic.

 

Patients waiting in line to get medicines at the health clinic. The medical journals are stored in the waiting room. 

  

If the clinic cannot help you, it is a 5-hour walk to the nearest hospital. They called for an ambulance once, but it never came.

 

 

Left: The health clinic has the highest number of child marriage in the region. It leads to many and complicated births.
Right: Disease statistics. Most suffer from RTI breathing problems related to burning / production of charcoal. Contaminated water also gives many problems.

 

 

It is a varied working day for the nurse. In addition to the area he is covering, patients who live "near" the clinic also come to get help.There are no motorized vehicles - 3 hours walk to the clinic is not uncommon.

 

 

There is a lack of pure water and there is no indoor plumming in the clincic. Water purification from Eco Water is very well recieved. 

 

 

Health clinic in Chibombo with solar panels on the roof. At this time, the temperature is 36 degrees celsius in the shadow, and the working conditions are dificult. 

 

Innovation Norway supports the UNDP Solar 4 Health Program

  • Innovation Norway was on site with Differ, a Norwegian company providing solar solutions to UNDP and the Zambian health authorities as part of the Solar 4 Health Programme. Read more about Solar 4 Health here.
  • The Solar 4 Health program is supported by Innovation Norway through NOREPS and Vision2030.
  • The Norwegian companies Differ, Bright Products, Eltek and W. Giertsen Energy Solutions were selected by UNDP to pilot their solutions as part of Solar 4 Health.