The government has inaugurated 26 solar-powered micro-grids for remote off-grid health facilities in the Northern, Brong Ahafo and Western Regions to improve health service delivery to the people.
Eleven health facilities including Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS compounds) located in West Gonja, North Gonja, Central Gonja, Zabzugu, Gusheigu, Mamprugu/Moaduri and Kumbungu Districts in the Northern Region have been connected to the facility likewise nine others in Brong Ahafo Region and six in Western Region.
The project is a built-on of the Ministry of Energy’s off-grid solar energy interventions to improve primary health care delivery in remote off-grid communities with special focus on women and children.
The United Nations (UN) Foundation through the UKaid provided a grant facility of 2.5 million dollars to the government to implement the project, and each of the facilities has the capacity to generate between three to five kilowatts of power.
Mr John Peter Amewu, Minister for Energy, who inaugurated one of the projects at Langantre in the West Gonja District on Monday, said “Through the Ghana Energy Development and Access Project, over 2400 health and basic schools have been connected to solar photovoltaic systems to improve health and teaching in some of the difficult-to-reach communities of the country.”
Currently, only about 20 per cent of the total installed power capacity across the 26 health facilities is used.Mr Amewu, therefore, directed the Renewable Energy and Distribution Directorate to work with the contractor to string a few low voltage lines in the affected communities fitted with LED streetlights and centralised energy service centres to improve energy access and the quality of night life of the people.
He said “This should be structured in a manner that will ensure revenue generation to improve the sustainability of the project.”Mr Amewu announced that “Additional 38,000 standalone solar home systems and 55 mini-grids would be delivered under the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Programme in off-grid communities to improve energy access and create opportunities for the private sector for the wellbeing of the people.”
He assured that government would continue to pursue its policy of competitive procurement of renewable energy particularly solar technologies and addition of at least 10 per cent of the capacity of renewable energy to the generation mix.
He said “We are committed to ensuring that the price of power in Ghana becomes competitive in the sub-region to attract the required investments and development for our people.” Mr Salifu Saeed, Northern Regional Minister lauded the project saying it would also help in addressing issues of poverty in the beneficiary communities.
Mr Jeremiah Tiimob, Deputy Director in-charge of Administration at the Northern Regional Health Directorate underscored the importance of electric power to health care delivery saying it helped in storing medicines and vaccines amongst others.
He assured that the facilities would be properly maintained to realise its benefits.
Mr Gordon Adisenu-Doe, a representative of Power World Limited and Cornerstone Capital, contractors of the project, who spoke on behalf of UN Foundation, expressed the need for all to play their roles to sustain the project by properly maintaining it.
Meanwhile, personnel from the health sector have been trained to operate and maintain the facility.Busunuwura Nungbaso II, Chief of Busunu, whose speech was read on his behalf, appealed to government to extend electricity to the communities in the area to promote their economic activities.