Malawi is one of the least electrified countries in the world. Only 18% of Malawi’s 18.14 million inhabitants have access to electricity (11.4% provided by the grid network; 6.6% provided through off-grid energy solutions).
Our CESET co-investigators in Malawi have undertook a field visit to the Manolo Health Centre to assess its current access (or non-access) to energy and their energy needs, and to determine what energy system they would need to service its patients effectively.
The Manolo Health Center is situated 95 kilometres south of Mzuzu, close to the Zambian border. A population of about 20,000 people, including both Malawians and Zambians, are served by the health center. The facility does not have any electricity and the only access they have to energy is through solar for lighting and charging phones for health workers. Patients have no access. Most patients are pregnant, and the facility has wards, delivery room and a pharmacy.
5KW solar is provided by the government. They need electricity because the pico-solar system only works for a few hours, and they are using the lights on mobile phones to deliver babies. There were other facilities and equipment not being used because they do not have electricity access. Patients bring their own solar panels to charge their phones. The Facility has a solar fridge for storing vaccines but they cannot make ice blocks so cannot do vaccine campaigns. They have access to water from the ground through a water pumping system. There is other equipment i.e. oxygen concentrator, fridge, printer and laptop not in use because they do not have electricity.
The Malawi Team have assessed energy demand data and have come up with a plan to fund a system up to 5KW to meet their needs. Next steps are to get approval and then do training on system operations and maintenance.
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