Solar-PV as enabler for improved health care in Ethiopia

In March and April 2022, Green People’s Energy Ethiopia (GBE) is equipping ten health centres with PV systems. The electricity generated allows the centres to run day & night and operate laboratory equipment as well as fridges for medication and vaccines.

The absence of electric power was a very long-time challenge of our Health Center, which had limited us not to give potential service to our community, but now thanks to GIZ-GBE Covid19 Relief Project, all those challenges are solved”, said Mr. Mulugeta Gololo, manager of the Bugie Health Center in the southern SNNP-region. Thanks to the solar-PV system, the health center could connect its most urgently needed medical equipment to its own power source.

Since March 2022, the solar-electrification of 10 rural health centers is underway. Being part of the COVID-19 response of Green People’s Energy (GBE) Ethiopia, the solar PV systems are to provide electricity day and night to selected health centers in the deep rural areas of the regions of Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Sidama.

With the help of solar PV, the health institutions and their staff will be enabled not only to provide a wider range of services, for example through electric laboratory equipment, but also to be fully operational at night times, which will be particularly beneficiary for delivery of babies or emergency surgeries. In addition, the cooling of heat-sensitive medical drugs and vaccines is now possible thanks to fridges that are powered by the solar PV system as well.

From my experience over the last 10 years in the SNNP-region I realized that solar electrification for remote off grid health institutions can mean the difference between life and death”, said Belay Ragga, regional manager of the GIZ energy portfolio in the two regions SNNP and Sidama. “Because reliable light and electricity are critical for nearly all aspects of safe childbirth, including equipment sterilization, infection control, powering essential medical devices, and nighttime examinations and procedures.

GBE Ethiopia is contributing to reduce the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for the healthcare system and economy in the country. Solar electrification boosts the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare, which also enhances infection control in health facilities and mitigates the spread of the virus. The health centers were carefully selected with the help of the regional energy bureaus of the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Water and Energy (MoWE), who is the political partner of the GBE Ethiopia project.