Rural health centres lit up by solar power

National, Normal

Report and picture by JEFFREY ELAPA

THE days of rural health facilities throughout Madang province delivering babies using hurricane lamps will soon be over, thanks to Pathfinder International.
Pathfinder is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Madang that specialises in family health issues.
Through its friends in Australia, PI-PNG has brought in 21 solar lighting kits to assist the rural health facilities through its “Lighting up health services in Madang” initiative.
PI-PNG programme manager Jeliliah Unia said under this programme, the entity would be installing small solar panel units and lights at the health facilities which they were already working with.
Mrs Unia said the concept came about from the dire need they had been able to see first-hand, in the health facilities, where health workers were being forced to use lamps (hurricane and Coleman) and torches as well as light from mobile phones to deliver babies at night.
She said PI-PNG had assisted several of these facilities by providing lamps, but the exercise was found to be expensive and unsustainable.
“We gave these facilities hurricane, even Coleman lamps, but found they (health workers) need kerosene everyday to run them and this is something we can’t provide for them everyday. It was for this reason we decided to look outside for help,” she said.
Mrs Unia said with A$650 (K1,300) raised by friends of PI-PNG, who were ex-missionaries to PNG, the entity was able to purchase a total of 21 units from Appropriate Technologies Project (ATP), a Goroka-based NGO.