What does having electricity mean for a small dispensary in Tanzania? How does it change the way its staff works? Most of all, what is the impact of such an “innovation” on the services provided to patients?
In recent days electricity became a reality for two small health centers in Lumuli and Magoda, located in Tanzania’s Iringa DC and Njombe Regions, respectively. Like them, another 48 dispensaries will soon also have light. All this has been made possible thanks to a new partnership between Sumitomo Corporation and Doctors with Africa CUAMM. In cooperation with Panasonic, the Japanese company has donated 50 solar panels to CUAMM to be installed in 50 dispensaries in the Iringa and Njombe Regions, where CUAMM is implementing the “Accelerating Stunting Reduction Project – TubadiLISHE Project” with the support of UNICEF.
«Having solar panels is an absolute breakthrough for these dispensaries,» Doctors with Africa CUAMM’s Edoardo Occa tells us. «For someone from Italy or another such wealthy country, this might seem like something of little importance. But in Tanzania, health centers are often just small, bare rooms with makeshift walls, a table, a few chairs and neither light nor running water, in the midst of endless red dirt and lush, sometimes very wild, nature. It’s here that vaccinations and prenatal check-ups are provided, and malnourished individuals identified – everything done without electricity. That means that when there’s no sunlight, everything has to come to a standstill. It means that it’s impossible to use a portable refrigerator to store vaccines in. So we’re truly grateful to Sumitomo Corporation for its donation, which is going to make a huge difference in terms of the services that we provide to these communities».
In cooperation with local health authorities, who identified the dispensaries most in need of such support, Doctors with Africa CUAMM installed the very first solar panels in Lumuli, in the Iringa Region, on 6 September 2016 and the following day in Magoda, in the Njombe Region. Official ceremonies were held with the participation of local authorities – who expressed their gratitude to CUAMM for its partnership and support – as well as a delegation from Sumitomo Corporation made up of Hasnein Gulamhussein, General Manager of the company’s Liaison Office in Dar es Salaam, and Misako Nogi, and a CUAMM representative.