Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Dr Jabbin Mulwanda cuts the ribbon at the Official Opening of the solar plant at the CIDRZ Central Laboratory with CIDRZ Board Chairperson Mr Bradford Machila
Today, with generous support from the U.S. National Institutes Health through the University of Alabama at Birmingham, CIDRZ officially opened an 83.2 kW capacity solar plant at its Central Laboratory at the Kalingalinga Health Centre in Lusaka.
Speaking at the event, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Dr Jabbin Mulwanda commended CIDRZ for the initiative. “What CIDRZ has done exemplifies the importance of collaboration between non-state actors and government. Knowing what Zambia has experienced recently in terms of power deficits, this solar plant guarantees continued quality laboratory services to Zambians in the public health sector. This is a big achievement not only for CIDRZ and the Ministry of Health but for everyone. Thank you CIDRZ and your sponsors for the laboratory services you have provided to the country over the years. Whenever I think about CIDRZ I think of quality.”
Minister of Health, Honourable Dr Chitalu Chilufya (MP) also commended CIDRZ for its continued partnership with his Ministry to ensure quality health services are delivered as close to the people as possible, as well as for going green. “We see here today the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Energy cooperating to attain a milestone achievement. We must create and leave a legacy. We must be committed to the preservation of the planet, and we must be committed to reducing the effects of climate change that is causing so much suffering to people the world over. Through the installation of this solar plant, a clean, reliable and cost-effective source of energy, CIDRZ has not only complemented Government’s efforts towards the provision of uninterrupted laboratory services, but also its commitment to renewable energy.”
Acting Director in the Ministry of Energy, Mr Arnold Simwaba added, “this solar plant will significantly help to reduce overload on the national grid. Our Ministry and the government encourages businesses and private individuals to emulate what CIDRZ has done and use alternative sources of abundant energy such as solar.”
CIDRZ Board Chairperson, Mr Bradford Machila, who attended the event with other Board Directors explained that CIDRZ was compelled to act due to the load shedding that had characterised the country’s energy sector. “In mid-2015, our Central Lab started experiencing 8 hours of power load-shedding every 24 hours causing a great challenge. Biomedical laboratory testing is a precise activity: temperature sensitive specimens require refrigeration or air conditioning to maintain sample quality, and sophisticated laboratory instruments and complex testing regimens require uninterrupted power to assure reliable results to healthcare providers and their patients.”
Currently, CIDRZ supports 84 government health facilities within Lusaka province with HIV viral load testing and early infant HIV diagnostics, the Central Lab conducts more than 2000 tests on a daily basis.