Solar lights bring joy to Mdlakunzi Clinic
Every week, a pregnant woman would be wheeled in a scotch-cart to Mdlankunzi Clinic for maternity services. Part of her luggage would be candle lights and buckets full of water for use during her delivery.
The situation has changed, thanks to Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA), which funded the clinic’s installation of a 5kW solar PV system – through its corporate social responsibility initiatives powers borehole water pumping and all the lighting system.
“The situation was heart rending and unbearable especially for pregnant women, as they often had to deliver in poorly candlelit rooms. It also affected critically ill patients, who need close monitoring”, said Thobekile Bhebhe, a nurse at Mdlankunzi clinic.
“Pregnant women require maximum attention especially during delivery and candle lights were not good at all”.
The clinic staff also said the electrification project has since improved service delivery at the institution in addition to improving their living conditions- by rural standards.
“It is now a joy to offer services at any time of the day. We now have warm water, modern lights and patients can also charge their mobile phones here” said Sidanisile Nkomo, another nurse stationed at the clinic.
“Members of staff now watch TV and tune in to radio stations just like our peers stationed in urban areas”, she added.
ZERA financed the installation of a 5kW off grid solar PV system which has power storage.
The support include solar powered borehole water pumping system which serves the clinic and the community, 45 LED bulbs and three solar water geysers.
The project is being supported under ZERA’s corporate social responsibility initiatives.
The aim of the support is to demonstrate that access to modern energy is possible irrespective of location and terrain.
Speaking during a tour of the clinic, ZERA Acting Chief Executive Officer Mr. Edington Mazambani said the project is proof of the commitment the energy regulator has that no one should be left behind on issues of access to modern energy.
“Part of ZERA’s mandate is to ensure increased access to modern energy and health centers are critical nodes that should be supplied with uninterrupted electricity”, said Mr Mazambani.
“I am happy that this project is almost complete and the community is reaping the benefits. The installed system is expected to serve as a model of off-grid power supply and expectations are that communities will eventually invest in small solar PV systems at their homesteads as well”.Mdlankunzi Rural Clinic is in Jotsholo’s Kusile District and has a catchment area of about 6000 people. The clinic’s referral hospital is St Lukes in Lupane which is about 100km away.
Dominant ailments that are treated at the clinic include malaria, diarrhea and chicken pox.
ZERA is also implementing a similar project at Mutepfe Rural Health Centre in Buhera.