Malawi leading newspaper has strongly called up government to speed the implementation of its K2.7 billion solar project which seeks to address power outages facing hospitals in rural areas.
The ministry of health said recently that it is working on the $3.78million project to install at 85 health facilitates across the country.
Project implementers say some of the bigger hospitals like Queen Elizabeth Central hospital, Bwaila Hospital, Zomba Central Hospital and Mzuzu Hospitals will also benefit from the project.
Each health facility will be provided with 100kw of power.
However, in its editorial comment, The Nation, said while it it’s obvious that this is fire-fighting initiative to save lives and drugs as well as facilitate delivery of health care services…. “We wish such a program was mooted and implemented yesterday.”
The paper however says the longer it takes to implement the project, the higher the risks to lives.
“Most importantly, however, we call for concerted efforts to sharply cut the power outages because the cost of the current situation is huge in terms of lives, jobs, as wear as the general economic growth and development on the country,” concludes the comment.
Malawi is currently experiencing critical power outages as the utility provider Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) is failing to generate enough power to meet demand.
Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) has said that power outages will continue in the country following a reduction in generation capacity by 19.3.
Escom has said as at the beginning of September, the country was only able to generate three quarters of its full installed capacity.
This means Malawians are only able to access 295 megawatts of electricity against the total installed capacity of 361 megawatts.
The drop is mainly attributed to continued fall of water levels in Lake Malawi.
The National Organization of Nurses and Midwives said recently that the current power cut and shortages are affecting the country’s health service delivery system.
“There are people’s lives concerned here. We are witnessing the worst incident of a crumbling health service delivery system in recent times. We have cases of premature babies dying in hospitals due to the absence of power for the incubators and whenever authorities are told about these things, they would ask for names of those children who are dying. I say this is unacceptable.” said NONM president Dorothy Ngoma.
The government started the solar project in June and it is expected to end in December with financial assistance from Global Fund.