Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Government supports solar installations at all its rural clinics to mitigate challenges of power cuts and recurring costs associated with generator use, particularly in provision of maternal health services, a senior Government official has said. Speaking to journalists during a media tour of Beatrice Rural Health Centre, which is one of the 35 rural clinics piloting the solar system, Family Health director in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Bernard Madzima said most generators given to rural clinics were no longer functional.
He said from the few that were still functioning, clinics were not able to fuel them as and when they need to.
“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 Dr Madzima.
He said a solar system would be the best intervention to ensure reliable power in rural clinics considering limited financial resources at most of the 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,” said Dr Madzima.
Beatrice Rural Health Centre medical officer Dr Bolan Madede concurred that clinics were finding it difficult to assist mothers to deliver at night.
He said in most instances, the midwives make use of candles which are either bought by the clinic or by the expecting mother herself.
“The solar system makes work easier for our health workers because lighting from a candle is very difficult to assist mothers to deliver, especially when there is need for suturing,” he said.
Mashonaland East is the first province to install the solar system, which is specifically for maternal health.
The system was piloted by a local company, Zim Energy, which seeks to reduce maternal deaths and complications by providing lighting to all clinics.
Zim Energy co-founder Mr Wadson Muchemwa said the solar suitcase comes with four LED lighting bulbs, charges cell phones, and also has LED headlamps that come with their own rechargeable batteries.