DoH turns to solar to power RHUs

The Department of Health in Mimaropa will install 29 Solar Home Systems in all identified rural health units in the region requiring an alternative source of energy that will supply electricity 24/7, DoH Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo said Monday.

“We will be installing these in health facilities that are located in island barangays, mountain communities and remote areas of the provinces that have limited sources of electricity, those that are powered by generators and those that has no means of reliable energy at all,” said Janairo.

“Having a medical emergency in the evening or delivering a baby during nighttime without interruption can help health workers provide proper treatment and care during birthing, maternity care, surgery and other medical operations,” he added.

In 2014, DoH-Mimaropa piloted three health facilities for the feasibility and sustainability of the SHS in the province of Marinduque. These are the Dolores Barangay Health Center in Sta. Cruz, the Bantay Rural Health Unit II in Boac, and the Maniwaya Health Center on an island barangay in Sta. Cruz.

The installation and configuration of the 29 SHS, Janairo said, will be handled by the Department of Science and Technology in Mimaropa.

“We have already identified primary birthing stations, barangay health centers and rural health units where these units will be placed,” he said.

Each health facility with SHS will have 150 watts of electricity that can operate a personal refrigerator for 24 hours, four electric fans for eight hours, 12 LED bulbs for a maximum of 10 hours, and a compressor for dental equipment for six hours.

Currently, 14 RHUs have SHS installed in Mimaropa. These are in Barangays Paraiso in Lubang and Guitna in Looc, both in Occidental Mindoro; Barangays Poblacion in Baco and Poblacion in Mansalay in Oriental Mindoro; RHUs in Torrijos, Gasan, Buenavista, and Mogpog in Marinduque; Magdiwang RHU and San Jose RHU on Carabao Island in Romblon; and RHUs in Agutaya, Cagayancillo, Dumaran and Linapacan in Palawan.

“We will install 15 more SHS in all RHUs with RxBox in other areas of the region to help power these devices that will enable remote consultations with patients in these far-flung communities.” Janairo assured.

The RxBox enables health workers to remotely diagnose, monitor and treat patients and are designed to provide improved access to life-saving health care services.

The regional office has allocated P1,145,500 for the upgrade of existing SHS and installation of the 29 RxBox sites with a counterpart of P245,000 for the installation and other incidental costs that will be shouldered by DoST-Mimaropa.

“All health facilities in the region requiring alternative and uninterruptible power source will soon be provided with the SHS. Delivering primary health care in rural areas also means having to innovate in definite ways such as building new energy system which also means saving hundreds of lives,” Janairo said.

Topics: Department of Health , Mimaropa , Solar Home Systems , Rural health units , Dir. Eduardo C. Janairo
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