Our first project is a collaborative effort with Catapult Design. The project is based upon a proposal to repair and upgrade the solar power system of Nyange Health Center. The electricity shuts off several times each day due to a combination of factors, including low quality batteries that were used for the original installation and inadequate number of solar panels to generate the amount of power needed to run the clinic. For this reason, electricity is inconsistent and this prevents the Nyange Health Center from performing essential community health services.
Women are encouraged to deliver their babies at rural health centers instead of at home. Many women believe that delivery begins at night, and so do not present themselves to the health centers until after dark. It can be very difficult to assess a pregnant woman or newborn baby for complications in the dark. Even when a problem is identified, it can be difficult to contact the hospital for an ambulance if the radio is unavailable due to electricity failures.
The Ihangane Project and Catapult Design have been working together with The Nyange Health Center to develop a solar power system that is able to provide consistent access to instrument sterilization, lighting, and communication devices such as computers and a TV/VCR for HIV education. Together, our goal is to create a reliable source of electrical power that can support standard of care health services, including HIV services, at the Nyange Health Center.
An Alternate Approach
After careful evaluation of several bids with Catapult Design, TIP chose to contract with Solar Electric Light Fund for the installation of Nyange Health Center’s solar system. Because sustainability is an essential component to any successful project, The Ihangane Project and Catapult Design are working with Nyange’s maintenance director and SELF to develop a monitoring and evaluation system that allows the nursing staff to learn from their energy production and consumption over time. This information will help them to modify their electricity use to prevent outages and maximize the lifetime of the batteries.
Expansion of the Project
The Ihangane Project has collaborated with Dr. Emery Chang at UCLA’s HIV Care Clinic to write a grant for funding that would include the cost of 2 more health centers and 2 health posts. We are excited to announce that we have received funding through an anonymous foundation to expand this project to these health facilities!