solar off-grid lighting

The Zimbabwean government has confirmed its support for solar system installations in all rural clinics in order to mitigate power cuts and recurring costs associated with generator use, the Herald reported.

The Beatrice Rural Health Centre is one of 35 rural clinics piloting the solar system, which seeks to reduce maternal deaths and complications by providing lighting to all clinics, is being provided for by local firm Zim Energy.

The company’s co-founder, Wadson Muchemwa explained that the solar suitcase comes with four LED lighting bulbs, charges cell phones, and also has LED headlamps that come with their own rechargeable batteries.

Speaking to the media during a tour around the Beatrice Rural Health Centre, Dr Bernard Madzima, the family health director in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, said most generators given to rural clinics are no longer functional.

Dr Madzima said a solar system would be the best intervention to ensure reliable power in rural clinics considering their limited financial resources, media reported.

Solar energy intervention

Dr Madzima said: "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." Read more...

Media reported that another resident medical officer, Dr Bolan Madede, concurred that clinics were finding it difficult to assist mothers to deliver at night.

Dr Madede revealed that 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, media stated.

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