2 Years of Constant Power Supply, Dakwa PHC Rejoices

There are more than 170 million people living in Nigeria. The unreliability of electricity from the national grid has led to the overuse of numerous atmosphere polluting generators for electrical energy. Though, rich in myriad natural resources, which create billions of dollars of revenue, alternative forms of energy like solar, are still not widely used as Nigeria has the world’s seventh largest oil reserves.

Several Primary Healthcare centers (PHC), in Abuja run without light while some are not even connected to the national grid. This has led to a drastic decline in the number of patients using these PHCs in communities where they are located.

A look at Dakwa Primary Health Center who has been off grid for years and had no source of electric power supply until today, are rejoicing over 2 years of constant solar power supply donated and installed by Vaya Energy company as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility.

Vaya Energy took up the task of designing, financing and installing the solar powered system that now provides electricity to Dakwa PHC, 24 hours a day without interruption.

“Our Primary Health Center commissioned in 2014 has been running for years without light up until 2016.  That is why we are celebrating two years of constant solar power supply.”

“Before now we used to go to a nearby community called Juwah, to store our vaccines and go back there to pick them up to administer on immunization days which often leads to the early closure of our PHC before its original time and not many people were coming here either from the community or its environs” Dakwa PHC Community Health Extension Worker (CHEW) matron disclosed.

Located in Dakwa Community, off Deidei - Zuba Express way under the Abuja Municipal Area Council, Dakwa PHC does not currently have a nurse except for a junior CHEW, 2 volunteers and is still not connected to the national grid which is the root cause of the declining number of patients accessing it and if any visited, it was because they had no money and therefore were helpless.

The CHEW in charge of the Dakwa PHC said that they had to depend on rechargeable lamps during child deliveries and buy water from local water vendors called “mai-ruwa” for all their day to day water need. She went on further to state that “Dakwa PHC was set up to cater for four communities including Dakwa, Sarki, Kokoife and Gofina but members from these communities seldomly visits.”

Their lack electric power supply story changed in April 2016 when VAYA Energy installed the 12 panel solar powered system exclusively for them and commissioned by the former Abuja Municipal Area Council Chairman, Hon. Micah Jiba.

It has been 2 years since the commissioning and there has never been any power cut, this has resulted to a large number of patients turning up at the PHC and according to the Matron in charge, “We have moved from zero patient to about 100 patients turning up daily”.

Primary health Centers are meant to be the bedrock of public health services in the country and was adopted by Nigeria and other member countries of World Health Organization as the basic structural and functional unit of public health delivery system.

The health care systems in Nigeria has been trailed by multiple challenges and Dakwa story is not different. Locals in the community blame the government for not connecting them to the national grid as the government only come during election period make campaign promises to secure their votes but never do anything.

Qualitative healthcare is dependent on power, whether it is a simple vaccine cold-chain system or blood banking.  Power has an immense role to play in healthcare delivery in this 21st century so much so that electricity is termed to be as the ‘most vital of all infrastructure services’ because without it, most other services will not function.