PEG Ghana, West Africa’s largest and fastest growing independent provider of distributed energy, has installed the first of 55 solar energy solutions in selected Community-based Health Planning & Services (CHPS) facilities in the Ashanti region of Ghana.
The project to electrify these rural health posts is being made possible by grant funding from USAID/Power Africa who selected PEG Ghana as one of their partners in this life-changing initiative. PEG Ghana has worked closely on this project with the Ghana Health Service through its Regional Director Dr Emmanuel Tinkorang and audited 170 locations before selecting the 55 CHPS facilities which it felt would benefit most from solar electrification.
In addition to electrifying the CHPS facilities to provide for their critical power needs, a key project outcome is for PEG Ghana to find ways to commercialise its offering such that other health facilities will see the value in investing in a PEG solar power solution to improve its community service and serve more patients. To allow for rapid deployment, the grant provided by Power Africa covers the cost of the product solutions being installed at the 55 facilities. The CHPS will then pay an affordable monthly sum to cover other costs associated with the initiative. During the pilot period, PEG will monitor the increasing patronage of the CHPS and intends to build a commercially sound proposal to attract many more such facilities to purchase its solar powered energy systems without the need for any form of subsidy.
CHPS facilities are a vital resource for local communities in some of the most rural places in Ghana and mainly provide maternity and pediatric services. The challenge that most facilities face is that they are either in off-grid or weak-grid locations, meaning that their ability to operate effectively can be compromised, especially after dark. One midwife recalled the time when she delivered a baby using only the light of her colleague’s mobile phone to guide her. The lack of power also means that administering vaccines to children in need requires somebody to collect the vaccines from the nearest electrified clinic that is able to store it at the right temperature. In the Covid era there will also be a need to vaccinate adults in order to battle the terrible pandemic, and the electrification project will play a key part in building post-Covid resilience amongst the most vulnerable communities. The fact that there is now power available in these facilities means it will be possible to store vaccines locally, which will dramatically improve the service available to the local population.
The first CHPS facility to be electrified was in Dawia and a ribbon-cutting inauguration ceremony took place recently with Stephanie S. Sullivan, the US Ambassador to Ghana, as the guest of honour.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Sullivan said that she was delighted to see a private/public sector initiative taking place and commended PEG Ghana and the Ghana Health Service for collaborating on this important project. “I’d like to recognize the innovative work that PEG Ghana and the Ghana Health Service is doing to bring renewable energy to health centers.”
Mr Felix Delle, District Health Director, Sekyere Afram Plains, commented that he was grateful to USAID/Power Africa for providing the funding for this project and to PEG Ghana for its professional work on the installation. Mr Delle said that another key benefit of electrification is that staff recruitment and retention is easier when working conditions are more comfortable, as they will be now that power is available 24 hours a day.
Nick Pearson, Group Commercial Director and Country Director for PEG Ghana commented that the company was extremely honoured to have been chosen to implement this important activity, and made special reference to the medical staff in the CHPS facilities, whom he said worked tirelessly in challenging conditions to ensure that the health of the community is maintained. He hoped that the solar electrification at Dawia and the 54 other CHPS would make healthcare delivery less challenging and improve services to the local population.
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PEG is a leading pay-as-you-go financing company in West Africa, operating in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Mali. PEG provides credit for useful and productive assets to underserved customers, and by doing this, we help customers to gain ownership of assets that they would not otherwise be able to afford. Importantly, as customers pay off their loan to PEG, we start to understand their credit history, which is a valuable tool we can then use to provide for additional loans for products and services. PEG has over 500 full time staff, over 600 commission-based sales agents, and has earned many prestigious awards including the International Ashden Award (UK) for Innovative Financing, Inclusive Fintech 50, and being named by London Stock Exchange as one of the Fast Growing Companies in Africa. More recently PEG was recognised as an Energy Access Champion for West Africa, and won awards in Ghana for ‘Small Business of the year’, and ‘Off-Grid Energy Supplier of the year’. More information can be found at www.pegafrica.com.