The Magbenteh Community Hospital currently has three power sources, NPA (National Power Authority); solar and a generator (should there be a ‘black out’ or cut of electricity).
Sierra Leone is yet to have consistent electricity nationwide, however when it is supplied, it is done so by NPA (via the Electrical Distribution and Supply Authority). Lack of electricity is part of normal life for Sierra Leoneans but disruption often arises in regards to the care of our patients and also medical equipment. Therefore, our back-up options of solar and generator power are vital for the functioning of the hospital.
According to our volunteer engineer, Adewale Tella, solar generated power is a safe way to ensure our medical equipment is not compromised in terms of the mixed voltage supplied to the various departments. With inconsistences in in electricity, some pieces of equipment may otherwise be at risk of damage with high current surges.
Adewale explains that energy surges with solar power are impossible and therefore if all pieces of our equipment were powered with solar electricity, it would be much safer and sustainable. However, in order to use this form of energy on a long-term basis at Magbenteh Community Hospital, extra solar panels would need to be purchased.
The current solar power we use provides only 1 line to the male, female and maternity wards which is vital in an emergency situation. This is delivered using 5 inverters supporting 60 solar panels. The power is then stored in 24 batteries. In order to improve the solar power supplied to the hospital facility, we need an expert to make it accessible to all wards and increase the number of lines. At present it is not seeking it’s purpose adequately.
An efficient change-over system and high capacity inverters are among the improvement suggestions which would improve the hospital’s solar power sufficiency and breadth.