Zimbabwe – A senior Zimbabwe government official was quoted by the country’s state run newspaper saying the government was in support of solar power installations at all its rural clinics to address perennial challenges of power cuts and high energy bills where generators were in use.
Dr Bernard Madzima, a Family Health director in Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care said this during a media tour of Beatrice Rural Health Centre about 55km south of the capital Harare.
Dr Madzima pointed out that most generators that were given to rural clinics had long broken down hindering provision of health services and particularly maternal health. In addition the few clinics with still functioning generators are finding it difficult to keep the generators fuelled due to financial constraints.
“For some reasons, babies want to come at night and it becomes difficult for midwives to assist mothers to deliver when there is no proper lighting. Previous assessments have shown us that most generators were no longer functional and in cases where they are still functioning the clinic might not have fuel to run them,” said the Herald in a quote of Dr Madzima.
The Family Health director is reported to have said a solar system would be the best intervention to ensure reliable power in rural clinics considering limited financial resources at most clinics.
“This innovation falls under the low cost but efficient intervention that we can adopt as a strategy for the whole country. Considering that we have abundance of sunshine in the country, I think this is something that we are willing to look at and find ways of financing installations at all our clinics,” the Herald further quoted Dr Madzima.
The Herald reported that Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland East province was the first to install a solar power system set up to be used specifically for maternal health.
The solar power system was piloted by a Zimbabwean company called Zim Energy with the aim of reducing maternal deaths and complications by providing lighting to all clinics.
The Beatrice Rural Health Centre medical officer Dr Bolan Madede agreed with Dr Madzima’s remarks adding that rural clinics were finding it difficult to assist mothers at night with midwives having to make use of candles which are either bought by the clinic or by the expecting mother herself, said the Herald.
Dr Madede was also quoted saying, “the solar power system makes work easier for our health workers because lighting from a candle makes it very difficult to assist mothers to deliver especially when there is need for suturing.”