The Meghalaya government has successfully installed solar-powered devices in 100 health centres in remote villages, an official said on Saturday.
The state government said it plans to cover all rural health centres under the solar power scheme to improve the functioning of these centres and ensure that last mile delivery in the health sector is achieved using solar technologies.
In a pilot programme, the National Health Mission has successfully powered 100 sub-centres in the 11 districts with solar devices, a senior health official said.
He said as part of the programme, energy efficient equipment like radiant warmer, suction apparatus, spotlight, solar direct drive vaccine refrigerator and luminaries, were installed and made functional.
To meet the health demands of the vulnerable people in remote areas of the state, the government had partnered with SELCO Foundation to scale the remaining 342 sub-centres and 122 primary health centres (PHCs) across the state, according to the official.
The site assessment is in progress at all these centres to ensure last mile health care facilities in Meghalaya.
Irrespective of the difficult terrain, remoteness, vulnerability to climate risks and natural disasters of rural habitations, the intervention will greatly benefit from solar energy that can power critical healthcare services including immunization, maternal care, deliveries, diagnostics and contribute to increasing monitoring including vaccination of COVID-19 among others.
Joint Secretary, Health Department, Ram Kumar, who also heads the National Health Mission said, "Having consistent energy flow into the health systems, builds the confidence among people on the services provided by the health systems."
He said the aim is to ensure that these health centres, irrespective of their remoteness, provide consistent power and ensure that services are available 24/7.
"Health centres are sustained on their own in terms of power so that there is no dependency on external power as well as have an efficient system of monitoring them," he said.
In the programme, adopted on a pilot basis in Meghalaya and a few other states, the NHM is being supported by SELCO Foundation and Cryptorelief to cover the entire spectrum of public health facilities in the state, the official stated.
An ANM of Jalyiah, C Syrti, said, "We are getting important solar powered equipment which are used in conducting safer and healthier deliveries." SELCO Foundation and Crypto Relief said they are partnering with each other in one of the largest programmes for upgrading and empowering public health facilities with solar energy across five states.
CryptoRelief chief Sandeep Nailwal said, "The team at Crypto Relief realises the potential that solar powering health centres will enable a foundation to impact health indicators on the ground in these districts." SELCO Foundation CEO Dr Harish Hande said the company is honoured to partner with Meghalaya government.
"In this existing programme of 100 sub centres in the state, which can then be a model for countries to replicate and by using solar energy we can democratise the delivery of health to the last mile people," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)