UN Foundation Kicks Off Project to Power Primary Health Facilities in Ghana and Uganda

Washington, D.C.

April 4, 2017


Megan Rabbitt

The UN Foundation recently formalized its cooperation with the Governments of Ghana and Uganda in supporting a new project in the energy, health, and gender nexus. The project, which aims to power a total of 62 un-electrified or under-electrified primary care health facilities across both countries, adding an estimated 240 kWp of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity to the health sector, is made possible by the support of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) under its ‘Sustainable Energy for Women and Girls’ programme.

The goal of the project is to enable improved delivery of health services – primarily for maternal and child health – in primary health care facilities, through improved access to modern, affordable, and sustainable electricity services. Speaking on behalf of the UN Foundation, Pete Ogden, Vice President for Energy, Climate, and the Environment, said: “Sustainable and reliable electricity is critical to providing quality health services, but is often unavailable or insufficient at the primary health care level. With support from the UK government, the UN Foundation is working to demonstrate the importance of the energy-health nexus, through the implementation of this project and our broader work with partners and Sustainable Energy for All. With this project, we will continue to show how Sustainable Development Goal 7 – ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all – can facilitate progress on the other SDGs.”

To guide the delivery on this project and to ensure it is embedded within each country’s respective public health infrastructure and energy plans, the UN Foundation is cooperating with the Ministry of Health in Uganda, the Ghana Health Service, and the Ministry of Energy in Ghana.

The UN Foundation has selected the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) and its partners, Power World Ltd in Ghana and All In Trade Ltd in Uganda, to design, supply, install, and maintain facility-wide solar PV solutions at each of the 62 facilities. SELF Executive Director, Robert Freling said, “Having installed solar systems in over 100 health facilities in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, we have seen the profound difference that access to modern energy can make in the quality of rural health care. Partnering with the UN Foundation, we look forward to creating a sustainable model of clinic electrification that can be replicated around the world.” Among the project components are remote monitoring tools, advanced training at multiple levels, and development of a long-term sustainability roadmap to ensure the impacts are sustained over time.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a key partner of the UN Foundation on the project and will carry out an independent impact evaluation study to determine what impact improved access to power has on the functionality of and the health services offered by the selected health facilities.

This project is one of several initiatives being carried out by the UN Foundation under a broader program of work, Energy for Women’s and Children’s Health, which is co-led by the UN Foundation, WHO, and UN Women. The program began under the auspices of Sustainable Energy for All.


About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors. Learn more at: www.unfoundation.org.

About WHO:

WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries, monitoring and assessing health trends and improving global health security. For more information about WHO and its work, visit www.who.int

About SELF:

The Solar Electric Light Fund is a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, DC that has spent more than 25 years designing and implementing innovative solar solutions to energy poverty. These solutions form the basis of SELF’s “Whole Village Development Model”—an integrated approach that uses solar energy to improve the health, education, and economic well-being of rural communities in the developing world.

About the UK Department for International Development (DFID):

The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty. Through its programmes, it tackles global challenges including poverty and disease, mass migration, insecurity and conflict. DFID aims to build a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for people in developing countries and in the UK too.


Luc Severi, Energy Access Manager (lseveri@unfoundation.org) at the UN Foundation