UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has handed over a solar-powered energy system to the Ministry of Health at the Chiwoza Health Centre in Malawi’s Lilongwe District.

The project, funded by the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI), is expected to ensure that the health centre has reliable and climate-friendly electricity for proper vaccine storage.

The solar power energy is also expected to positively impact the lives of mothers and children through improved health care delivery in Lilongwe.

The initial case of wild poliovirus that led to the declaration of a case of a wild poliovirus outbreak in the Southern African country was detected in Lilongwe.

Malawi declared an outbreak of wild polio on 17 February 2022 – the first case of wild poliovirus in the country since 1992.

A 2021 study by the South Eastern European Journal of Public Health revealed that universal access to health care remained unavailable, particularly in rural areas in Malawi.

‘These solar power energy systems will help to safely store essential vaccines such as [Covid-19 and polio] vaccines in health facilities in hard-to-reach areas’, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Malawi, Gerrit Maritz, said.

‘They will also significantly benefit the upcoming [polio] vaccination campaign’.

The UN agency said the solar-powered energy system will help the delivery of babies and provision of newborn care at night, which was previously a big challenge due to lack of electricity and inability to use medical equipment.

UNICEF had earlier announced that it would procure nearly seven million doses of polio vaccine to inoculate children in Malawi against polio.

Source: UNICEF Malawi

Photo source: UNICEF Malawi

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