JUMEME, a mini-grid operator in Tanzania co-funded by the European Commission, has launched a “COVID-19 Relief Program” to support the Tanzanian government and local populations in their effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. With this program, JUMEME will use its local solar-hybrid mini-grids to provide 10 healthcare facilities in the Lake Victoria Islands with free electricity services for the coming 3 months.
As free and reliable electricity supply will help keep operations run smoothly, it will also free up much needed financial resources to better prepare the local healthcare facilities to fight COVID-19.
In addition to its 12 solar-hybrid mini-grids already in operation in the Lake Victoria area, JUMEME is also finalising the implementation of 11 mini-grids on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, in the Northwest of Tanzania, which will connect 10 more health centres once operating. JUMEME intends to extend its relief program to this area to support their local health centres as soon as the new project is completed.
Dr Kole, Chief Physician at the Bwisya Hospital says, “We are grateful to JUMEME for the [electrification] services they offer to Bwisya Hospital for 24 hours a day without failure. We also appreciate the availability of electricity which enables us to conduct clinical procedures, surgery, and other essential health services to the people of Ukara island.”
Health centres are common in Tanzania’s remote rural areas. Patients rely on these facilities to receive first aid and treatments for common infections, before being referred to larger, better equipped facilities if needed. In JUMEME’s project areas, which were selected for their remote, off-grid location, only one healthcare facility can be deemed a hospital, which is located in Bwisya on the island Ukara. These smaller facilities are especially vulnerable, as they receive less funding than larger hospitals.