Bringing solar power to medical centres in the Indian Himalayas during Covid-19


Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) is providing solar power to health centres along with critical medical care equipment for remote communities of Ladakh and Meghalaya, India.

India has over 23 000 primary healthcare centres (PHC) and over 1 million medical sub-centres catering to 70 percent of the population. Health centres often do not have all of the equipment they need and are affected by frequent power cuts, making primary healthcare a tremendous challenge in the country. Furthermore, patients are routinely referred to bigger hospitals, located several hundreds of kilometres away, increasing the risk of fatalities.

These issues are exascerbated in mountain regions, where limited access to healthcare continues to be a challenge due to geographical barriers and limited infrastructure.

For the past eight years, GHE has been providing villages with clean energy while focusing on the holistic development of the regions they work in. Due to the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic, building on the fundamental premise of access to energy, GHE recently took up the challenge of setting up solar powered health centres.

In the Purakhasia area of Meghalaya, a PHC catering to more than 27 000 people in the remote northeast Himalayan region – less than one kilometre from the border to Bangladesh – was one of the first to be transformed.

The head of the PHC at Purakhasia, Dr Kara Sangma, said, "Over 50 percent of the critical patients die due to the absence of proper diagnosis, and several diseases go untreated because of the lack of regular power supply to run the medical equipment at the centre."

Dr Sangma added, "For a long time, patients have been skeptical about visiting the PHC due to power failures and poor healthcare facilities. This has pushed the region further towards a health crisis. I hope that now, with the upgraded facilities, patients and their families will feel more comfortable and confident about visiting the PHC."

Today, the PHC in Purakhasia is first solar powered health centre in the Garo District of Meghalaya. The facility is now equipped with a ventilator, a patient monitor and several other equipment vital to bringing better healthcare to the remote area and to giving critical patients a fighting chance to survive.

Global Himalayan Expedition also setup a 7kW solar plant for the medical sub-centre at Sato, Ladakh to ensure 24/7 electricity for treatment. In addition to powering the medical centre, critical medical equipment such as a ventilator and autoclave were also provided.

Read the GHE blog "Healthcare with Green Energy" 

Watch the GHE video "Solar Powered Medical Center, Village Sato - Ladakh" 

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