The Ministry of Health (MoH) has embarked on a K2.7 billion ($3.7 million) project to install solar energy at 85 health facilities nationwide.
The initiative aims to ensure seamless delivery of health services in the face of prolonged power outages, according to MoH chief of Health Services Dr. Charles Mwansambo.
Said Mwansambo in an interview yesterday: “The goal was to prioritise saving lives and curbing power disruptions, especially in key hospital sections like theatres, maternity wings and intensive care units and under-five section.
“Given the serious power outages now, we are grateful that we could use part of the Global Funds grant that will technically end on 31st December this year.”
Mwansambo—who said the ministry’s plans had been in place as early as June this year—added that the current power outages have particularly crippled district hospitals and health centres in remote areas.
He said although the big city hospitals have enjoyed some relief from the blackouts; they have had to use expensively-run generators at some points in their operations to serve certain key parts of the medical facilities.
Giving details of the project, programme implementation unit (PIU) manager Dr. Doreen Sanje, who is managing Global Fund resources in government, said the aid has come with comprehensive packages.
She said bigger hospitals such as Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe, Zomba Central Hospital and Mzuzu Central Hospital will be fitted with solar panels to provide each facility with 100 kilowatts of power.
She said a South African firm, Resolve Company, has been sub-contracted for the installation and other works in the project called the supply, delivery and installation of solar to hospitals in Malawi.
The project, which has seen seven technical groups fanning out to the concerned medical facilities, is to be completed on December 20 this year.
But Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe is the first to benefit from the project. n