In Meghalaya’s stunning landscapes, there is an area beset by continuous electricity shortages, resulting in two-hour daily power outages, increasing the hardships faced by its population and crucial services. Among these difficulties, the tenacity of a pregnant lady highlighted the spirit of Meghalaya’s healthcare.
Consider this: a pregnant woman arrived accompanied by just 1 person in an auto-rickshaw at the Primary Health Centre (PHC) for her delivery, reflecting the resolve and bravery of Meghalayans and their trust in PHCs. Her path represents the community’s persistence and courage in the face of hardship. Such determination highlights a crucial requirement for uninterrupted power supply, particularly in critical sectors such as primary healthcare.
To solve for the pressing need, SELCO Foundation & Societal Thinking, along with eGov have come together to reimagine primary health services delivery with the power of platforms. This reimagination will not only help strengthen last mile medical infrastructure that runs on decentralised renewable energy (DRE) grids but also build towards driving sustainable societal change at speed and scale.
Addressing challenges with resilient solutions
The SELCO-Societal Thinking-eGov partnership aims to make Primary Health Centres (along with other last mile health service delivery points) resilient and self-reliant through the deployment of DRE grids (locally deployed solar grids which generate electricity) and with their optimal usage and maintenance. Typically, in any solar deployment, equipment maintenance is critical to prevent systems from failing. Recognizing the criticality of Operations and Maintenance (O&M) for DRE grids, SELCO Foundation is coming up with innovative models.
These models intend to make healthcare more robust, ensuring availability of critical healthcare equipment like baby warmers and heart resuscitation equipment which can run on solar energy, in remote areas. A digital platform that is powered by DIGIT aims to provide SELCO and other involved stakeholders with modules that address grievances, maintain and manage these DRE grids and enable data driven decision making. eGov’s digital platform will also streamline communication between central teams, state agencies, vendors supporting PHCs and the PHCs themselves.
Eliminating power disruptions, empowering communities
A Primary Health Centre (PHC) now thrives in Byrnihat, Meghalaya, owing to solar power and innovative energy solutions. The PHC serves up to 100 patients per day, providing essential services such as 20 deliveries per month, through a dedicated team of doctors and staff. The PHC’s operations are now uninterrupted, ensuring vital care even when the power goes out. Solar energy, which was once a temporary solution, has evolved into a reliable source, eliminating disruptions caused by fluctuating rains and low voltage. Technical issues are quickly resolved with the help of SELCO Foundation CRM specialists, demonstrating the resilience brought about by sustainable energy and digital interventions.
Supporting infrastructure with flexible solutions
In the midst of Meghalaya’s challenges, the Umsaw Nongkhai Sub-Health Centre (SHC) stands out as an example of innovation and perseverance. This remote healthcare hub, nestled away from the District hospital, serving over 7,000 people across 15 villages, faced daunting obstacles due to frequent power outages. With the installation of solar power in 2021, a profound change occurred, elevating it from a mere convenience to a lifeline. The lack of cold storage, which was once a critical limitation, is no longer a barrier to vaccine storage and delivery, thanks to solar energy. Every nook and cranny is now illuminated by lights and fans that run on solar power. Inverter-powered medical equipment ensures uninterrupted services, demonstrating the power of sustainable energy solutions.
Anticipating a bright tomorrow
Solar power isn’t only an advantage in distant Meghalaya; it’s a lifeline at the Umsaw Nongkhai Sub-Health Centre. This tenacious campaign, facilitating 3-4 monthly deliveries, not only addresses electricity issues but also considerably decreases the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), driving the state towards a healthier future. Meghalaya’s proactive commitment to its residents’ well-being, as seen by a lower IMR thanks to solar energy, demonstrates its commitment to growth. This transition, with the SELCO Foundation and Partners as catalysts, lays the groundwork for dependable healthcare and sustainable energy, paving the way to a brighter, healthier tomorrow.