Solar Project Brings Relief to Malawi Health Facilities

15th November 2017

As part of its ongoing commitment to developing the healthcare infrastructure in Malawi, the country’s Ministry of Health, through the Global Fund Project Implementation Unit (PIU), has embarked on a $3,7-million project to install solar energy at 85 health facilities nationwide.

In an interview with Malawi’s The Nation newspaper, the Ministry of Health’s Chief of Health Services, Dr Charles Mwansambo, said that the initiative aims to ensure seamless delivery of healthcare services in the face of prolonged power outages the country is currently experiencing.

“Our Global Fund grant ends on December 31st this year, and we are grateful that we could use part of it for this initiative,” he said. “The goal is to prioritise saving lives and curbing power disruptions, especially in key hospital sections like theatres, maternity wings, intensive care units and the section for children under five.”

Power outages have affected district hospitals and health centres in remote areas the worst. Big city hospitals have been less affected, although they have had to use generators to maintain operations at times, which are costly to run.

The Ministry of Health contracted with PFSCM, a Global Fund implementing partner, to procure and install the solar panels, and PFSCM awarded a subcontract to Resolve Solution Partners, a division of Imperial Logistics South Africa, to conduct the installation and provide a 3-year maintenance program. “Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe is the first to benefit from the project,” explains Dr Doreen Sanje, PIU Manager for Global Fund resources in the Malawi government. “The project is due to be completed in December this year.”

Other hospitals to benefit include Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Zomba Central Hospital and Mzuzu Central Hospital. These hospitals, including Bwaila Hospital, will be fitted with solar panels providing 100 kW of power.

This project marks the third healthcare supply chain solutions project that PFSCM and Resolve have partnered on in Malawi. Last year, PFSCM and Resolve installed 115 prefabricated storage units across the country using Resolve’s unique Storage-in-a-Box solution. After the success of this project, PFSCM and Resolve were awarded the roll-out of a further 95 Storage-in-a-Box units, which were completed at the end of October.

These prefabricated 70 m² modular storage units are pharmaceutical-compliant, validated, fully outfitted and can be deployed immediately. Delivered in 40 ft containers, Storage-in-a-Box brings supply chain solutions to both remote and urban settings with ease, allowing supply networks to develop where they are needed, not just where they have traditionally been able to be deployed.

“This solar project is an exciting development in the supply chain solutions we are involved in across the African continent,” says Arno Haigh, Managing Executive at Resolve. “We look forward to completing this project in Malawi and playing a key role in having a positive impact on healthcare in the country.”

Project Specifications:
• 85 solar power installations for the Ministry of Health of Malawi.
• Project timeline: 3 months from procurement to final installation completed.

• This includes:
o 2 x 100 kW solar panel arrays
o 4 x 50 kW solar panel arrays
o 15 x 10 kW solar panel arrays
o 64 x 5 kW PV (photovoltaic) systems
o 313 solar powered streetlight installations
o 46 solar geyser installations (200 litre & 100 litre units)
o 51 air conditioner installations, and
o 10 580 m² of heat reflecting paint applied at 16 hospitals.