Govt moots solar energy for hospitals as power crisis threatens patients on life support

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By Costa Nkomo

ENERGY Minister Fortune Chasi has revealed plans by government to equip the country’s hospitals with solar energy as crippling power outages now threaten the lives of patients on life support.

Power utility, ZESA has introduced 15 hour load shedding schedules for households and industry as the country’s power crisis persists.

The situation has since caught up with hospitals often regarded as special places that should never be denied power.

Chasi revealed during a Renewable Energy and Power Infrastructure Investors Conference in Harare on Wednesday that a local doctor has informed him he was now considering stopping his operations altogether because of the dire situation.

“As I am talking to you right now, a doctor has just sent me a message to say that ‘maybe I should close because I can’t operate this emergency unit’ on the basis of electric power, hydro power, ZESA power with which we have problems right now.

“So we need to begin to think and I have already begun discussions with the minister of health to say we need to find a way of solarising our hospitals.”

Chasi added: “Hospitals, for example, when you have load shedding, somebody is on life support. What happens? Diesel may not be available, it’s expensive. Hospitals are not commercial entities. They don’t make money out of treating people.”

Troubled Zimbabwe faces its worst economic crisis since the 2008 hyper inflationary period that pauperised many.

The current crisis has manifested in endless fuel, cash and power shortages.

Government apologists claim the country was now feeling the effects of poor economic management by President Robert Mugabe’s now defunct administration.