Solar Energy, Always Healthy
Solar systems to bring health centers back to life t serve communities and improve health basic services (Photo: UNDP Yemen)
Four years of no electricity supplies has turned people’s life in Yemen upside down. Therefore, the incredible hunger for electricity makes you think that life revolves around the search for energy and little else.
Many small rural and public facilities in the country suffer from lack of energy supply, impeding health service provision. People in these areas are already in a bad health condition, but what adds salt to injuries is that those people cannot get basic health services mainly because health centers in their areas cannot operate without having access to electricity. Standard operating procedures for most public health centers require energy use for water, temperature control, lighting, ventilation, and clinical intervention.
Ga’ar Health Unit located in Khanfar, Abyan governorate is one of the public assets that were supported by UNDP through the solar compound of the Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen (ERRY) Joint Programme to deliver essential public services for the most vulnerable people in Khanfar district. Lack of electricity in Ga’ar Health Unit led to vaccine spoilage, stoppage of using essential medical and diagnostic devices, and lack of even the most basic lighting and communications for maternal delivery and emergency procedures.
“The laboratory in particular and the health unit in general is able to deliver better services to the public. We have better working environment now, we can carry out night-time diagnosis and care of mothers in labour, have regular vaccination schedule, and charge cell phones for communications on emergencies. Dr. Mona, a senior doctor in Ga’ar Health Unite, explained. “More people from the rural communities can now visit the health unit and benefit from the health care services” Dr. Mona Added.
The solar system installed in Ga’ar Health Unit proved to be more efficient than the fuel- based generator that the health center had when they used to have operation capital provided by the government. The alternative energy also demonstrated cost-effectiveness and reliable electricity in such a low-income setting where the grid is unreliable or non-existent.
“The newly installed solar system brings sustainable source of energy to the new vaccine refrigerator provided by ERRY joint programme, which ensures safe and quality vaccination for children, and currently we can receive more quantities of vaccines from the ministry of health vaccination program and deliver a better service. We can say that the solar system is making a big difference.” Dr. Ahmed, a doctor at Ga’ar health center, emphasized.
The solar component also provided Ga’ar health unit with standalone solar direct drive vaccine refrigerator with cooler and freezer for vaccine storage, in order for the installed solar system to be utilized for full operation of all other health facilities and medical equipment.
“I used to come here asking if there is any vaccination available, and they used to ask me to give my contact number so that they would call me as soon as they have vaccine available. I used to wait for at least two weeks to receive a call, but nowadays, I can come any time to get my children vaccinated. This change is all because of the solar system installed in the health unit. They can now store the vaccines in the refrigerator” Om Hamzah, a visitor of the health Unit, said.
Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen (ERRY) programme is a joint-initiative funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by FAO, ILO, UNDP and WFP in four governorates in Yemen (Hajjah, Hodeidah, Lahj and Abyan). The three-year joint programme aims to enhance the resilience and self-reliance of crisis-affected rural communities through support to livelihoods stabilization, food security, local governance, social cohesion and improved access to sustainable energy.