Case Story: Improving rural health care delivery through realizing access to pro poor energy facilities: “Solar Vaccine Storage Refrigerators”

Meskerem & Tsehay HEW with solar refirgerator

W/r Meskerem Kassay and Tsehay Hailu are the health extension works (HEWs) for a Health Post at small village named Basso where For Development Association Ethiopia (FDA-E) intervenes. Basso Health Post is the smallest, most basic health institution. Basso Health Post doesn’t typically have a permanent doctor or nurse on staff. The health post has only two full-time primary healthcare providers or HEWs: W/r Meskerem and Tsehay. Some services available at the health posts include the treatment of minor illnesses, the attending of minor injuries and, where possible, the provision of basic immunization services.

According to the HEWs report, Basso village being a remote and hard-to-reach area has faced challenges in ensuring that children and women are protected against vaccine preventable diseases. These challenges were partly contributed by the inadequate access and utilization of routine immunization services due to lack of electricity for vaccines storage refrigerators. As a result, most children were at risk of morbidity and mortality resulting from easily preventable diseases like measles, polio, neonatal tetanus and whooping cough.

Moreover, due to absence of the vaccine storage refrigerators, the HEWs were forced to travel more than four hours on foot so as to bring vaccines from the nearest health centers. Thus, the load on W/r Meskerem and Tsehay was very heavy and beyond description. Wastage of vaccines was also very common since vaccines are easily perishable without cold chain or refrigerator. Today, these all scenarios have changed through the introduction of solar vaccine refrigerator by FDA-E under the Community Based Health, Water, and Education Project. Now, extensive immunizations programmes are in progress throughout the Basso village hence guarantee a significant contribution in reducing the threat of outbreak of vaccine preventable diseases. The burden levied on W/r Meskerem and Tsehay is completely reduced and currently they are able to render heath services easily and properly.

All the villagers and HEWs have thanked FDA-E for its unreserved support to improve the health and wellbeing of under deserved community. It should be noted however, the surrounding remote villages are off-grid yet, and suffer from lack of cold chain. Accordingly, W/r Meskerem and Tsehay have urged FDAE to continue playing a pivotal role by expanding its Community Based Health, Water, and Education Project to ensure wider immunization program whereby children and women among the vulnerable groups are protected from vaccines preventable diseases.

This is a report passed to us from the Addis Alem Health Desk and demonstrates how effective these solar refrigerators have been.You can read more in the following articles:

Since Besso, 3 more fridges have been installed in 2012 and 3 more earlier this year – a total of 7.

These fridges cost around £2000, with another £1000 transportation costs – £20,000 well spent by For-ethiopia.

[flickrapi user=”For-ethiopia” get=”photoset” id=”72157632871358231″ size=”m” count=”100″]


%d bloggers like this: