Remarks by Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla – media briefing on National State of Disaster pertaining to the impact of severe electricity supply constraints
The National Disaster Management Regulations will help to accelerate the implementation of immediate necessary practical interventions to minimize the impact of load shedding on the provision of essential health services.
These interventions will include the installation of required electricity infrastructure in priority areas where health facilities are imbedded on the grid with many Eskom clients, which makes it difficult to exempt facilities.
Other low-to-medium interventions include the rollout of generators, solar panels and uninterrupted power supply systems
The National Department of Health has been engaging with relevant authorities and external donors for financial support, including National Treasury to acquire these much-needed resources for health facilities and improving the quality of service-provision across the country.
The State of National Disaster will enable the government to exempt not only essential health services and infrastructure such as hospitals, but water treatment plants from load shedding because water supply gets affected in most health facilities as water pumps use electricity.
Whilst the situation has not necessarily led to the loss of life, this will bring about necessary intervention in improving the quality of health service provision at our health facilities.
In the Health Sector in particular, the regulations will assist in ensuring that the impact of load shedding on service delivery to support lifesaving and specified essential infrastructure is significantly reduced and better managed.
This will provide necessary protection to our health facilities to avoid deterioration of quality of service delivery at health facilities.
Department has provided Eskom with a list of 213 hospitals to be considered for possible exclusion, 76 have been exempted [26 directly supplied by Eskom and 50 by Municipalities].
Department to present energy mix plan with low-medium-long terms for implementation. This will include primary health facilities/clinics and Community Health Centres.
To work with CSIR to quantify the required size of solar energy and consider different kits of inverters with batteries for the Clinics and CHC’s. Unlike solar panels, these kits are lockable and not easy to steal.
This will enable the department to map out the roll-out implementation programme for the required solar energy solution for each health facility;
Department to also use this intervention to speed up the implementation of medium-to-long-term measures presented by Eskom on the exemption of 46 hospitals in various provinces at the estimated cost of R356 358 000