The Meghalaya government will utilize solar power to operate its remote health facilities

SHILLONG: 10th April 2022 (PTI Source)

According to an official with the Government of Meghalaya, about a hundred health centres in the remote villages of the state have been outfitted with solar-powered technologies.

The state administration has confirmed that it will implement the solar power project to improve the functioning of rural health centres and guarantee that last-mile delivery in healthcare is accomplished with solar technologies. In a pilot project, the National Health Mission has successfully used solar systems to power a hundred sub-centres in eleven districts, according to a senior health official.

He further added that energy-efficient equipment such as suction apparatus, radiant warmer, spotlight, solar-driven vaccine refrigerator, and luminaries had been installed and operationalized as part of the programme.

According to the official, the government has teamed up with SELCO Foundation to expand the remaining 342 sub-centres and 122 primary health centres (PHCs) throughout the state in order to fulfil the health demands of vulnerable people in remote areas of Meghalaya.

The site assessment is now underway at all of these health centres in Meghalaya to verify that they include last-mile health services. Solar energy may power essential healthcare services such as immunization, birth deliveries, diagnostics, and maternal care, and contribute to enhancing COVID-19 vaccination and monitoring in rural areas regardless of the technical difficulties, remoteness, and exposure to natural calamities and climate risks.

“It's a good idea to ensure that the health centres in remote areas are connected so that patients can get treatment when they need it,” says Ram Kumar, Joint Secretary for the Health Department and head of the National Health Mission. “Having continuous energy flowing into healthcare systems instils confidence among clients about their services,” he said. The objective is to guarantee that these health facilities -- no matter how far away they are – provide constant power and assure that services are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

He added, “Health centres are autonomous in terms of electricity and don't rely on external power, which means they're more reliable. They also have a well-functioning monitoring system."

In the programme, which has just been implemented in Meghalaya and a few other states, the NHM is being aided by SELCO Foundation and Cryptorelief to cover the full range of public health facilities throughout the state, according to an official.

“We are getting vital solar-powered equipment that is utilized in better and safer deliveries,” said an ANM of Jalyiah, C Syrti. “We're working with the Crypto Relief and SELCO Foundation to put into action one of the most extensive programmes for enabling and empowering by upgrading public health facilities with solar energy panels in at least five states as a starting point,” they continued further.

The Meghalaya government is excited about the project and has provided an allocated sum of money. “The team at Crypto Relief understands the potential that solar energy health centres will have to impact on-the-ground health indicators in these regions,” said Sandeep Nailwal, Executive Director of Crypto Relief. Harish Hande, CEO of SELCO Foundation, stated that his organisation is pleased to work with the Meghalaya government.

“We will be able to do this because we already have a solid structure in 100 sub-centres throughout the state, which can serve as a model for other nations to replicate and by utilizing solar energy, we can democratize health care delivery to the last mile individuals,” he added.