NEW DELHI: Synergising between clean energy and effective healthcare, the Union Health Ministry has decided to use power generated from solar energy to electrify Primary Health Centres across the country.
The new initiative will be launched by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in collaboration with the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a policy research institution.
The collaboration will focus on providing effective healthcare delivery at PHC level by reducing uncertainty in critical infrastructure, particularly electricity supply via cost-effective solar-based solutions.
“The collaboration with CEEW will bring together synergies between the objective of ‘time to care’ as mandated in the National Health Mission (NHM) and clean energy as outlined under the National Solar Mission (NSM),” Soumya Swaminathan, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research, said.
“Under this collaboration, on a pilot basis, we will install solar systems at select Primary Health Centres in partnership with three state governments and evaluate its impact on healthcare delivery and health outcomes,” she said.
As of 2015, nearly 35 million citizens in rural India rely on un-electrified primary health centres for health services.
In the absence of electricity, some crucial services like institutional deliveries, pediatric emergencies and administering of vaccines get severely affected.
Power supply is also an effective means of facilitating communication services, tele-health applications and to retain skilled health workers.
According to Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, CEEW: “The collaboration with ICMR supports the systematic and productive advancement in national policies, regulations and actions to leverage solar energy for a social purpose: enhancing the quality of healthcare delivery at various levels of governance”.