Maracha – Residents of Maracha constituency in Maracha district turned Tuesdays 23rd June 2020 to celebration day following dazzling of six health centres with solar lighting systems.
The solar lighting systems benefit communities in catchment areas of Kamaka and Ovujo Health Centres in Oluffee Sub County, Curube and Kijomoro Health Centres in Kijomoro Sub county, Oluvu and Eliofe Health Centres in Oluvu Sub County.
“Thank God! it is great, it’s wonderful, I’m happy that we now have sufficient power supply!,” Ms. Rasil Bazia exclaims out of excitement.
A mother of six, Bazia, who had brought her eldest daughter for labour at Eliofe health centre 3, is all over the clouds to witness installation of two solar at the facility.
She recalls, the health centre was in a total darkness during time of delivering her six children before government installed solar lighting which have now become inconsistent at night.
“We faced challenges of lighting shortage here at the health centre when on labor. Back then, every expectant mother would be told to come with kerosene lamp or wax candles. At the time of delivery, the midwife would take the lamp to assist the mother, leaving the attendants in darkness” Bazia recalls ordeals at the health centre.
Ms. Orodriyo Doreen, a Health unit management Committee member Kijomoro Sub County joins her Bazia in merry making over the solar installation.
“I can’t hid my happiness after seeing this health unit beaming in light! Its all God’s power, let the glory be to Almighty”, with hands and eyes raised to the sky Ms. Orodriyo expresses her joy while murmuring continuous praises to God.
“In many occasions nurses would use the phone light while attending to mothers on labour. You get them using one hand for holding light and the other for helping the expectant mother” Ms. Orodriyo narrates.
For Ms. Agnes Tiko, a councillor at Oluffee Sub County, the solar system relieves the local government from financial strain.
“Our budgetary allocation for supply of power to the health centres has already been addressed. Constant powers cuts at the health facilities will cease, making service delivery better” Ms. Tiko explains.
She urges the community to take ownership of the equipment as the Sub county takes responsibility of repairs and maintenance.
Officer in charge, Kamaka health centre III, Mr. Ociti Philip explains that the new lighting systems would supplement the old one earlier installed, to boost service delivery by solving the challenges of power shortage.
“Existing solar has lost strength. The batteries have become weak and cuts off any time. Some times powers outing occurs at a critical moment when we have a mother delivering or an accident victim is brought for health service. Now, with this additional power source, I’m sure, services will be different” Mr. Ociti expresses his optimism.
Kijomoro LC 3 chairperson, Matua William appreciates the lobbying ability of the area Member of Parliament, Hon. Denis Oguzu Lee, for the equipment.
“This is what a good representative of the people is supposed to do for the people. We urge you to continue lobbying for more. Not only health sector but education, water and sanitation among others need support” Mr. Matua lists area of need.
Maracha Constituency Member of Parliament, Hon. Denis Oguzu Lee, says he lobbied for the equipment from “Signify Foundation”, a nonprofit body, in collaboration with Philips International and Village Energy, based in Kampala, as an implementing Company.
” I had an interaction with the top management of the company and shared challenges our health department faces, that when they accepted to give us some support in areas most in need. Since our health workers especially the midwives always face hardships of light at night, I though it better to put it as a priority ” Hon. Oguzu explains.
Supervisor for Village Energy, a Company contracted to install the system, Mr. Peter Ssebabi, says the equipment costs over Shs. 23.1 million.
The amount includes two solar lighting installation systems plus three solar lamps for midwives on night duty at the beneficiary Health Centres.
Durability of the solar panels is between 25-30 years while the Lithium batteries go between 5-8years.
Mr. Ssebabi calls on the stakeholders to take charge of the equipment by providing security and handling with caution following the guide given them during end users training.
According to Mr. Ssebabi, Signify Foundation mostly funds projects in Rhino Camp refugee settlement areas, covering five health centres, protection house and community help bases where 22 solar systems and 22 security lights have installed.
He says Signify Foundation funds project in three phases, including solar kiosks and solar powered water system for the community.