By Malawi Exclusive
Malawian-owned International Power Control Systems (IPCS) has been awarded part of a $363,607 (approx. K345 million) USAID/Power Africa grant to electrify healthcare facilities that provide maternal and child health services in sub-Saharan Africa.
With this grant, IPCS will use solar energy to electrify two healthcare facilities in Malawi’s Southern and Central regions. The company will also install solar device-charging stations at each facility to generate revenue to help maintain the solar energy systems.
IPCS’ Business Development and Marketing Director, Rumbidzai Bere said in an interview yesterday that the project will see the electrification of a clinic and community hospital which facilitate more than 2,000 births and serve more than 6,800 pregnant women and 6,400 under five children annually.
“IPCS hopes to scale beyond the two healthcare facilities, looking to electrify eight more such facilities in the near future. The company believes that it will contribute substantially to alleviating the electricity challenges experienced by Malawi’s healthcare services and thus reduce maternal and infant mortality,” said Bere adding that the facilities will be electrified in phases, with IPCS expecting to have installed its systems by the end of September 2022.
“The award (of the project) is a major breakthrough IPCS as it elevates our profile as a supplier with the capacity to understand local community needs, commit to a long-term business plan, and implement off-grid technologies innovatively to improve the wellbeing of mothers, children and healthcare workers,” added Bere.
She said IPCS’ support to embark on this project has raised the bar for renewable energy expertise in Malawi.
“As an established organization with over 24 years’ experience in the energy sector, this development is a fulfilment of our mission, which is to provide high-quality renewable energy systems supported by world-class technical expertise,” said Bere.
Power Energy said in its grant statement that by sustainably electrifying clinics, the grant program aims to support increased access to antenatal care and routine immunization, improve diagnostic services for children and pregnant women, and expand hours of service delivery which is especially crucial for after-dark emergency care and childbirth.
“This grant program is dedicated to the memory of USAID Foreign Service Officer Madeline C. Williams from the Great State of Minnesota. In her 28 years of distinguished service at USAID, Madeline devoted herself to improving the lives of underserved communities,” reads the statement in part.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrain Chikumbe welcomed the development saying any initiative that would help to improve healthcare service delivery particularly among marginalized populations is commendable adding that this would promote the Universal Access to Healthcare philosophy as enshrined in the Health Sector Strategic Plan II (2017-2022).
“Electrifying rural health facilities would therefore go a long way in improving access to quality health care and thereby achieve a remarkable decline in illnesses and deaths to pregnant mothers and under-fives. The Ministry of Health remains grateful to all partners who take part in promoting safe motherhood and child survival initiatives,” said Chikumbe.