Great relief has come to the government hospital in Buchanan Grand Bassa County, with the supply of solar energy through UNDP Liberia Solar for Health Project.
Reliable solar supply has improved services to patients not just from Buchanan but River Cess & Sinoe Counties. Operational costs have also reduced.
According to the Director of Procurement at the hospital, the supply of solar panels has reduced difficulties faced by the hospital in powering critical medical equipment and facilities.
Interacting with UNDP Liberia Resident Representative Stephen Rodriques during a visit to the facility, Mr. Lincoln Wleh explained that the hospital's operating hours are fully functional as seen in the increase of patients.
"Thanks to the reliable solar supply, the hospital currently caters to more than 300 patients daily," says Wleh.
UNDP through its Solar for Health Project in partnership with the Ministry of Health provided solar power to the Buchanan Government Hospital in April 2020.
The 4-kilowatt energy system is comprised of 150 pieces of panels (275 watts each) and 63 pieces of batteries.
Since 2019, UNDP has provided solar power to 12 public health facilities in seven Counties across the country-Bong, Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu, Lofa, Bomi. Grand Bassa and Montserrado.
The aim is to help the government find innovative ways of cutting down on fuel consumption and reducing carbon emissions, as Liberia struggles with climate change issues.
The UNDP Liberia funded solar project prioritizes laboratories, operation theaters and maternal and child health centers within the 12 facilities.
UNDP Liberia through its Resident Representative Stephen Rodriques, notes that, without reliable access to electricity, health facilities are not able to power essential medical devices such as ventilators; systems to pump, filter and heat water to ensure requisite hygiene practices; or to enable the cold chains that make vaccines and other medications available.
Based on the success of the project thus far, including its contributions to emission reduction, UNDP is currently working on a regional Solar for Health Program proposal with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for the provision of sustainable low-carbon energy services to 464 public health facilities across the country.
The Program aims to support dramatic cost reductions in energy supplies for health facilities, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and improve efficiency and access to good quality health services in the country.
"UNDP is committed to working with its regional and national partners to ensure that this proposal is successful," Rodriques says.
The visit to the hospital by the UNDP Liberia Resident Representative is in continuation of his site visits across the country, intended to interact directly with local communities and beneficiaries of UNDP funded projects.
The aim is to also get a sense of the impacts of the interventions as well as, identify actions that need scaling up, and opportunities for additional support.