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Signify-FS join hands to light up PHCs through solar power in Rajasthan

The Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are the main implementors of health care service to the rural poor of India. These centres have been established by the Government but due to lack of facilities like manpower, surgical equipment, medicines and electricity, poor people are forced to visit nearby urban private health facility where they have to spend a lot of money to get the same facilities for which the PHCs have been established. There are currently more than 30,000 PHCs in India and around 2000 PHCs are located in Rajasthan. Therefore, we can say that a good part of population
actually depends on the these PHCs for primary health facilities.

In health facilities, regular electricity access is necessary for deliveries, storage of vaccines, provision of emergency services, supply of clean water, and retention of skilled staff. In India, Primary Health Centres (PHCs) ensure last-mile delivery of health services, that is, at the village level. However, one in every two PHCs in India is either un-electrified or suffers from irregular power supply. This extent of power deficiency across PHCs could hamper the provision of health services in the country. Still, the impact of access to electricity on health service delivery has rarely been explored in detail in India.

Erratic and poor electricity supply is one of the major issues that these PHCs are facing in many states and Rajasthan is one of them. To address this issue, Signify Foundation is supporting FINISH Society to provide solar power facility at 20 such PHCs in the four districts of Rajasthan so that the rural poor can visit these centres instead of going to any urban private health establishment. This attempt could even enhance the footfalls in these PHCs which can ultimately restore some confidence of the poor people on these Government setups.

Solar power will improve power supply in the PHCs leading to better health services for the end beneficiaries. The project is meant to generate 8, 68,992 KWh annually. It will help in saving cost incurred on operations and management of PHCs on daily basis. The project aims to save INR 7,386,432 annually. Solar power will provide electricity without additional cost; besides, it will reduce carbon footprint by saving 713 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission in PHCs.

During COVID-19 pandemic when the Government is making wholehearted efforts for conducting vaccination drives, it will help keep the vaccines in refrigerators at a certain temperature. This project will also enable these PHCs to run their refrigerators in a more effective manner to maintain the life of the vaccines. The four districts are chosen based on the maximum tribal population and aspirational districts listed under NITI Aayog, namely, Udaipur, Sirohi, Baran and Nagau