The Meghalaya government plans to power its remote health centers with solar technology

The Meghalaya government has successfully installed solar-powered devices in 100 health centers in remote villages, an official said on Saturday.

The state government said it plans to include all rural health centers in the solar energy system to improve the way these centers function and ensure last mile delivery in the health sector is achieved using solar technologies. In a pilot program, the National Health Mission has successfully provided solar equipment to 100 sub-centers in the 11 districts, a senior health official said.

He said the program installed and made operational energy-efficient equipment such as radiant heaters, suction devices, searchlights, solar-powered vaccine refrigerators and lights.

To address the health needs of vulnerable people in remote areas of the state, the government had partnered with the SELCO Foundation to scale the remaining 342 sub-centers and 122 primary health centers (PHCs) across the state, the official said.

Site assessment is underway at all these centers to ensure last mile health care in Meghalaya. Notwithstanding the difficult terrain, remoteness, vulnerability to climate risk and natural disasters of rural settlements, the intervention will benefit greatly from solar energy, which can power essential health services such as immunization, maternal care, childbirth and diagnosis, and contribute to increased surveillance including vaccination COVID 19 among others.

Health Department Joint Secretary Ram Kumar, who also heads the National Health Mission, said: “A steady flow of energy into health systems builds people’s confidence in the services provided by health systems.” He said the aim is to ensure that These healthcare centers, regardless of their remoteness, provide consistent power and ensure services are available 24/7.

“Health centers are self-sustaining in terms of power supply, so they are not dependent on external power supply and have an efficient system to monitor them,” he said.

In the program, which has been piloted in Meghalaya and some other states, the NHM will be supported by the SELCO Foundation and Cryptorelief to cover the full spectrum of public health facilities in the state, the official said.

An ANM from Jalyiah, C. Syrti, said, “We are getting essential solar-powered equipment that will be used for safer and healthier deliveries.” The SELCO Foundation and Crypto Relief announced they are in one of the largest programs to modernize and strengthen public health facilities collaborate with solar energy in five states.

Sandeep Nailwal, CEO of CryptoRelief, said, “The Crypto Relief team recognizes the potential for solar powered health centers to enable a foundation to impact on-the-ground health indicators in these counties.” Harish Hande, CEO of SELCO Foundation, said the company is honored to work with the Meghalaya government.

“In this existing program of 100 sub-centres in the state, which can then be a model for countries to replicate, and by harnessing solar power, we can democratize the delivery of health to people in the last mile,” he said. The Meghalaya government plans to power its remote health centers with solar technology

Chris Barrese

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