United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Namibia collaborated with Global Fund and the Ministry of Health and Social Services on a UNDP global initiative called Solar 4 Health. The pilot project led by UNDP Namibia involved the installation of solar energy photo-voltaic (PV) systems which were set up at five clinics across Namibia from 13 to 18 December 2017.
The funding was facilitated by Global Fund and is aimed at supporting governments in improving access to quality health services. These systems provide constant and cost-effective access to electricity, thus assisting vulnerable communities in mitigating climate change and poverty conditions.
The various clinics that have been equipped with PV systems through the project include Okaukamasheshe Clinic and Uutsathima Clinic in the Omusati region as well as Eiseb Clinic, Klein Aub Clinic and Kalkrand Clinic in the Hardap region. In addition to the PV systems, two mobile TB diagnosis clinics equipped with solar power features were leased by UNDP Namibia to conduct the nation’s first TB Survey from 29 November to 5 December 2017.
UNDP Procurement Services Officer, Blessing Kabasa who is based in Copenhagen was accompanied by Common Services Associate, Toivo Shikongo on a visit to the above mentioned clinics from 14-18 December 2017. The 4 clinics effectively use solar energy to assist in providing rural communities with cost effective, reliable and sustainable power solutions. The medical staffs at these clinics are better equipped to provide the much needed health services in these parts of the country.
Namibia is a step closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) 17 as set out by UNDP Global. SDG’s 3, 7, 13 and 17 that being good health and well-being, affordable and clean energy, climate action and partnerships respectively are specifically achieved in relation to the Solar 4 Health project.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Operational Framework for building climate resilient health systems highlights the need to take a broad approach mediate the challenges of climate change, including a focus on renewable energy in health facilities and utilizing innovative technologies.
Namibia is geographically located in a sunshine rich region and solar powered energy systems are ideal for providing low cost reliable electricity. Effective Solar power solutions is a way in which the Namibian health system can increase its resilience to the challenges presented by climate change, including extreme weather events such as droughts that affect conventional sources of electricity.