PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department has planned to install solar power units for maintenance of cold chain for safety of vaccine and functioning of laboratories, X-ray plants and ultrasound machines at the public sector hospitals, which face 10-hour power outages every day.
A survey conducted by the independent monitoring unit (IMU) of the health department last month shows that 210 health facilities in the province face severe shortage of power supply which affects cold chain for vaccine for childhood ailments. Sources said that the rapid assessment survey was carried out to seek permanent solution to the issue of power outages which brought healthcare activities to a standstill as despite existence of staff and equipment the patients couldn’t get any assistance.
The health department has asked Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation for solarisation of the facilities hit by more than 10 hours power outages every day.
At the receiving end were the people of Battagram where electricity was not available or non-functional in 36 health facilities followed by Abbottabad, Mansehra and Kohistan. In 13 per cent health facilities, electricity wasn’t available and in 67 per cent it was found non-functional, said the survey. The X-ray plants, ultrasound machines, pathological and other work couldn’t be done for want of electricity.
Survey shows 210 health facilities in KP face severe power outages
The survey, which covered all 781 basic health units (BHUs), 410 civil dispensaries and 128 hospitals of the province, also recommends alternate sources of energy to ensure continuous supply of power. It has recommended that PEDO along with district administration should conduct rapid assessment in the facilities with minor problems to resolve the issue by using the available sources.
According to it, the facilities with no electricity connections require urgent assistance through solar power. Arrangements should be put in place to operate the system in these facilities, the survey says.
It said that most of the patients were sent to private clinics or referred to secondary health care facilities for ailments, which could be treated at primary health facilities.
Dr Akhtar Said, who heads the IMU, said that the outlets should be energised with back-up electricity generators, installation of solar panels, UPS and stabilisers. “Maps and situation analysis also pinpoint that power-deficient hospitals stay without water, sanitation and sterilisation,” he said.
Dr Akhtar said that on the request of health secretary, all the 1,518 health facilities were surveyed during the three week exercise. “The health department has also released Rs40 million to Rs50 million to 19 districts besides regular budget to be spent at the district level on prompt repairs, civil work and supply of medicines and power,” he added.
Dr Akhtar said that the department also planned to constitute committees at community level to run the local health facilities and provide better care to people in rural areas. “Rest of the districts will also get the amount,” he added. He said that decentralisation of power through district governments was another positive development owing to which most issues could be resolved effectively. The health department was waiting for response of PEDO regarding the plan, he added.