Access to energy for improved health services at Bondo Health Center in Mulanje

Posted June 6, 2022

The improvement in the quality of health services in the area of Bondo is one of the many benefits that have been registered as a result of off-grid energy connection

Although Malawi faces some challenges in generating and distributing power nationally; with 10% of the country connected to the main grid, there are tremendous opportunities available to attract and scale up to more investments in renewable energy.

 As a long-standing partner working across the energy sector, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Malawi is working closely with the Government and other partners to advance the national energy priorities and promote decentralized renewable energy sources such as clean mini-grids; all of which are central to eradicating poverty and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Access to Clean and Renewable Energy (ACRE) Project, which commenced in 2020 and is implemented by the Ministry of Energy, is one of the interventions aimed at increasing access to clean, affordable, reliable, and modern energy in Malawi. The project which is being funded by UNDP aims to increase the sustainability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of energy technologies in Malawi.

Through the project, Mulanje Electricity Generation Agency (MEGA), one of the implementors of the project, has successfully connected over 1600 households to their off-grid connection in the Bondo area, with the potential to reach an even wider population.

Improved health care

The improvement in the quality of health services in the area of Bondo is one of the many benefits that have been registered as a result of MEGA’s off-grid connection in the area

Limited access to energy is among the serious challenges and is also affecting the progress of an improved health sector in Malawi, with only about 59% of the health facilities accessing regular electricity from the Grid as of 2013/14.

Bondo Health center, which serves over 500 patients every day has therefore had its operations improved due to the connection to the off-grid electricity by MEGA.

The health facility’s reliable power source has helped with their general lighting, especially for child delivery, emergency night-time health care, refrigeration of vaccines and other medicines; and to power up medical and diagnostic equipment.

Fatsani Mlakha, one of the Medical Personals at Bondo Health centre testifies how the connection has been a lifesaver. “Not only is it easier to help patients but the availability of electricity has also improved our work environment and living conditions, considering that this is quite a remote area,” he said.