No water…or no sanitation…or no power…equals no hospital. All these infrastructure heavyweights take a back seat to the primary focus of patient care at the hospital at Rotifunk…unless they’re not available. A reliable power supply is a necessary and fundamental part of the success of the hospital.
Haugesund Rotifunk, a Norwegian-based philanthropic organization dedicated to the well being of the hospital, took on the huge task of providing reliable solar power. Solar power is a relatively new technology to Sierra Leone, and the installation at Rotifunk turns out to be one of the largest in the country when installed in August 2020. It was a $200,000 investment.
The solar array consists of 160 panels, generating 40 kW of power. A control house contains 24 powerful batteries, at a cost of $1500-$2000 apiece. Although maintenance costs are minimal, they’re not zero, as now two of the batteries need immediate replacement which reduces available power by 8%. In addition, two batteries are needed for standby service in case of future battery failures.
A solar battery does not live forever and recently several batteries are no longer charging properly. On December 17, we received word that the Hospital was in total darkness. Mission of Hope has received a grant of $8,000 from the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church for the replacement of three solar batteries. Additionally, three other batteries have been provided by Haugesund Rotifunk.
A donor(s) providing $4000 would provide funds to purchase standby batteries in the case of future failures.
Rotifunk’s success in providing excellent healthcare in the region requires constant attention to many details, and power supply, sanitation and a safe water supply are at the heart of reliable infrastructure.