The introduction of solar power in 23 clinics offering TB-HIV integrated services with support from The Union Zimbabwe Office has greatly improved the efficiency and effectiveness of these health facilities. Clinic activities ranging from the refrigeration of vaccines to patient recordkeeping are no longer disrupted by power cuts, thanks to the new solar panels.
The solar power provides a utility service parallel to Zimbabwe’s national grid, which has been plagued with frequent power cuts since 2008. All sectors of the economy have suffered during this period, but the major supplier of electricity, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), has been particularly overwhelmed, and the health sector has suffered immensely from its sole dependence on ZESA.
Before the introduction of solar power, daily patient care activities were frequently interrupted by power cuts. These disruptions affected emergency services such as resuscitation, medical procedures such as delivering babies and the appropriate storage of medicines and vaccines, as well as training activites requiring audiovisuals and administrative tasks such as data entry and report writing.
“The use of solar power is an example of adapting creatively to the conditions in which we work”, says Dr Christopher Zishiri, Director of The Union Zimbabwe Office in Harare. “Solar energy is a good option for limited-resource settings, because it is renewable, eco-friendly and the panels do not require refuelling. As a result we can ensure that when patients come to our clinics they will consistently receive the care they need.”
The Union’s TB-HIV activities in Zimbabwe are funded through a grant from TB CARE.
Source: The Union