By Abubakarr Harding
In a significant step towards improving healthcare facilities in remote areas of Sierra Leone, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has joined forces with Orange Sierra Leone to launch the Health Grid Project. This initiative aims to provide power supply, enhanced connectivity, and clean water solutions to twenty-six off-grid community health centers, ensuring sustainable health facility electrification and improved medical services.
The Health Grid Project, a collaboration between USAID’s Global Development Alliance and Orange Sierra Leone, will work in close partnership with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) to address the pressing challenges faced by underserved health centers in the country. With Orange Sierra Leone as the implementing partner, the project will install and maintain solar-powered photovoltaic (“PV”) electricity generation systems specifically tailored to meet the energy needs of each of the twenty-six health facilities, ranging from 5KWH to 10KWH.
A key aspect of the Health Grid Project is Orange Sierra Leone’s commitment to providing internet connectivity to all twenty-six community health centers. This connectivity will improve information dissemination and data sharing, ultimately enhancing healthcare delivery in these remote regions.
Furthermore, Orange Sierra Leone will be instrumental in ensuring the project’s long-term sustainability. They will establish a technical support “hotline” for Health Grid Operation and Maintenance (O&M), supplementing their existing internet connectivity support hotline. This proactive approach aims to promptly address any technical issues that may arise, ensuring uninterrupted service.
The primary objectives of the Health Grid Project are threefold: firstly, to increase energy services in the off-grid health centers, enabling healthcare workers to use critical equipment and access the internet. Secondly, to pilot and test eight water purification services in selected health centers, providing potable water for both medical and community use. And thirdly, to enhance the utilization of internet services in these remote health centers for improved information and data dissemination.
With the implementation of the Health Grid Project, remote health centers in Sierra Leone will receive a reliable supply of electricity, thereby allowing healthcare workers to offer essential services even during nighttime emergencies. Moreover, the electricity generated by the PV systems will facilitate a cold chain for vaccine storage and distribution in these off-grid communities, promoting better public health outcomes.
The Health Grid Project’s approach is comprehensive, as it combines energy, connectivity, and clean water solutions while fostering strong relationships with the local communities. As a result, these facilities will be able to provide life-saving services more sustainably, offering essential healthcare services and efficient coordination with other healthcare providers.
To ensure the long-term success of the project, Health Grid will establish a Sustainability Fund that will support ongoing operation and maintenance of the installed systems. Additionally, cloud-based monitoring systems will be implemented to track the equipment’s performance in real-time, facilitating swift response to any maintenance needs.
List of Beneficiary Facilities:
- Baoma CHC
- Barmoi CHP
- Blama Massaquoi CHC
- Bonthe District Cold Store
- Buedu CHC
- Fadugu CHC
- Gambia CHC
- Gbinty CHC
- Heremakono CHC
- Jaiama CHC
- Kamalo CHC
- Kambia District Cold Store
- Kawula CHC
- Koinadugu District Cold Store
- Mamansosanka CHC
- Mana II CHC
- Markoma CHP
- Massam CHC
- Mayepoh CHP
- Rogbere Junction CHC
- Talia CHC
- Tikonko (Faabu) CHC
- Tobanda CHC
- Yormadu CHC
The implementation of the Health Grid Project in Sierra Leone involves a robust coalition of partner organizations, including USAID Mission for Guinea and Sierra Leone, Gavi – The Vaccine Alliance, RESOLVE, World Vision, and Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation. Each partner brings valuable resources, financial support, and technical expertise to the project.
The Health Grid Project is set to make a significant impact on the lives of communities in Sierra Leone. By providing sustainable power, internet connectivity, and clean water solutions, this initiative will elevate healthcare services and pave the way for better health outcomes in remote regions.
For more information, contact:
Fatmata Sarieu Zubairu – Transverse Project Lead – Orange Sierra Leone
Cynthia Macaully, Project Management Specialist-Health – USAID Sierra Leone