Conflict and political instability in Somalia has badly affected the delivery of basic services, especially healthcare, rendering a significant proportion of the population without basic health service. Mogadishu has been at the epicenter of the protracted violence that has severely impacted on every aspect of basic amenities including health, education and water. The city of an estimated population of 3 million has seven public hospitals that are operational in Mogadishu and provide basic health services for free or with minimum charges. They operate in a complex environment with limited resources and high demand for medical services that outpace their limited capacities, and face challenges including the lack of funding, shortage of medical professionals, and high operational costs, i.e. for fuel to operate the generators providing electricity.
Dayniile Hospital is one of the public hospitals in Mogadishu that delivers free essential public health services, including mother and childcare, fistula treatment, outpatient and inpatients treatment, and emergency services, mainly for those affected by explosions and blasts in Mogadishu. The hospital uses diagnostic medical equipment such as X-rays, scans, oxygen masks, ultra sound machine and equipment of the operation theatres which require reliable and constant power supply.
The hospital used to rely on diesel generators, often struggling with high fuel costs or shortage and frequent power outages. The unreliable power supply put medical services and operations at risk. This challenge was further exacerbated when MSF closed its operations in Somalia in 2013, including the provision of fuel for Dayniile Hospital.
Responding to the urgent need for reliable power supply in the health service delivery, NIS, with the support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy, through the bilateral agreement between Norway and the Federal Government of Somalia, provided a hybrid solar system with a backup generator for the electrification of Dayniile Hospital.
In April 2018, a delegation of the Government of Norway led by Special Envoy Vebjørn Heines and Mr. Einar Rystad visited Dayniile Hospital and met with the hospital management, the board of directors and community representatives. The Dayniile community expressed their appreciation of the Norwegian government’s support of the hospital solar electrification. The Embassy was pleased to see the new system already providing cheaper, reliable and cleaner electrification that is low maintenance to poorer communities in Mogadishu. The project is a pilot project within the Bilateral Programme.
Sultan Nur Mohamed, a community leader in Dayniile district who was attending the meeting with the visiting Norwegian officials said, ”Since the construction of the hospital, the solar electrification is the second most important investment for the operation of the hospital. Not only the benefits go to the current generation of the community but next generation will benefit from the installation as well. We are thankful to the Government of Norway and Federal Government of Somalia for the support and will remember this forever. The support came at the right time and Government of Norway has a special place in our hearts.”
The Dayniile Hospital Operations Manager, Omar Mohamud, explained the benefits of the system: Through the solar electrification, the fuel consumption of the hospital has been reduced drastically by 75% from 40 barrels to 10 barrels, translating into the reduction of fuel costs from 6,400 USD to 1,600 USD per month. The hospital used to operate 16 hours per day; since the solar electrification it is operational 24 hours. Consequently, the overall provision of medical services of the hospital has improved; the number of patients treated at the hospital per day increased by 33% from 120 to 160 patients. “We used to worry about the fuel and knock the doors of business people and local authority officials as well as those who could help us with the fuel. Getting fuel for the generator was really a headache for us. Thanks to everybody who have taken part and made this possible so that the hospital provides its medical service to the local population without worrying about the fuel,” he added.
The solar electrification of the hospital not only reduced running costs but also improved the overall delivery and accessibility of medical services. Dahabo Ahmed Mudey, 24, is from Wanlaweyn district of Lower Shabelle Region and one of the beneficiaries seeking medical treatment at the hospital. She has brought her only and ill son to Dayniile Hospital after she could not afford the medical charges of other hospitals. Dahabo’s son was undergoing treatment and an oxygen mask was fitted on his face while she was giving this interview. The oxygen mask is a life-saving device that requires uninterrupted electricity supply. Dahabo appreciates the hospital management for the free quality medical care delivered to her ailing son.