Like many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya is burdened by high levels of maternal and infant mortality. As of 2022, the reported maternal mortality ratio in Kenya was over 355 deaths per 100,000 live births, this means nearly 5000 Kenyan women and girls die annually due to pregnancy and childbirth complications.

The Kisii Konya Oroiboro Project (KIKOP), a community based public health programme, was established by Curamericas Global in 2018 to reduce maternal and child mortality in the Kitutu Chache Sub-County of Kisii, Kenya providing the level of care mothers and infants so desperately need.

The Nyagoto Dispensary maternity ward forms part of KIKOP and was formed in partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Health and Curamericas Global.

Currently, the Nyagoto Dispensary maternity ward delivers up to nine babies per day, an increase in usage from 2018 of over 300%. In 2022, to ensure exceptional and consistent care to its patients, KIKOP decided to install a photovoltaic solar system that would enable the maternity ward to enjoy 24/7 electricity supply, mitigating any of the dire consequences that result from unstable power in the region. This system was made possible with the reliable equipment of Schneider Electric, the meticulous labour of PowerPoint and the coordination and oversight of United Solar Initiative.

“It was imperative that we ensure our mothers, sister and friends don’t deliver their babies in the dark. Installing a solar microgrid would ensure that we could provide continuous care, overcoming any of the challenges, often dire, that come with power outages that often last up to three hours in rural Kisii.” says a spokesperson at KIKOP.

“Safe, reliable electricity is paramount to medical services, especially for childbirth, and infant and maternal mortality rates drop significantly when women have access to guaranteed, uninterrupted healthcare services,” says Carol Koech, Country President, Schneider Electric East Africa.

“We know that far too many women and children die without basic access to health. Our partnerships with the community and private sector are critical to success. Since 2018, we have demonstrated an 82% reduction in maternal death, changing the world of a family and their community.”  says Andrew Herrera, Executive Director of Curamericas Global.

The solar microgrid solution was installed by Schneider Electric East Africa system integration partner, PowerPoint in partnership the Kisii Minister of Health, Curamericas Global and United Solar Initiative. Rolled out in two phases, the first phase entailed the installation of the solar PV panels, arranged in series and parallel connection to generate 7KWs of solar energy and the second phase, the installation of the Schneider Electric Villa Smart system included the following capabilities:

  • Battery charging using Schneider Electric Conext MPPT charge controller.
  • Powering the building and maternity ward using the 8KVA Conext XW+ inverter charger, an adaptable pure sine wave, single-phase, split-phase or three-phase inverter charger for grid-tie backup and off-grid solar.
  • Monitoring battery health and state of charge using Conext Battery Monitor.
  • Remote monitoring capabilities using Conext combox.

The Kisii community also played an active role in the installation of the solar PV system, providing both input and feedback to the technical team during the planning and installation phases.  Furthermore, labour was sourced from the community, providing an opportunity to upskill individuals in the installation of solar plants.

“At United Solar Initiative, we believe the impact that clean and reliable power provides can be monumental for the mothers, children, and families served by the Nyagoto Dispensary. This impact wouldn’t be possible without strong partnerships and support from Kisii County community members. We are fortunate to be a part of a strong cohort of organisations and citizens working together to empower communities,” says Samantha Childress, President of United Solar Initiative.

The organisations will continue their partnership at another healthcare clinic later in 2023.

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