Solar panels to be installed in public hospitals by 2028

 Public Health Principal Secretary Mary Muthoni.  [Samson Wire, Standard]

The Ministry of Health plans to install solar panels in all public hospitals by 2028.

This move is aimed at reducing carbon emissions within the health sector while relying on 100,000 Community Health Promoters to spearhead climate change mitigation efforts.

This was announced by Public Health Principal Secretary Mary Muthoni to mark Health Day at the UN climate summit in Dubai.

She spoke during the pre-launch of the First Kenya Climate Change and Health Strategy, 2023-2027.

Muthoni emphasized the critical role of addressing climate change in the healthcare sector.

"By 2028, we will have at least made sure that all facilities have solar panels. And this is informed also by the kind of policies and laws in place,” she said.

She said this will be done through the Improvement Finance Act 2023, which will look into what the facilities require. This is one of the long-term strategies being considered.

She stated, "Climate change stands as the paramount existential threat confronting humanity today. It affects environmental and social determinants of health such as clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food, and secure shelter."

Highlighting the urgency of the situation, Muthoni detailed the harmful impacts of climate change on health, including a surge in climate-sensitive communicable and non-communicable diseases.

She noted that regions with precarious health infrastructures would be ill-equipped to manage the impending challenges.

To underscore the severity of the issue, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Sixth Assessment Report revealed that 3.6 billion people already live in areas highly susceptible to climate change.

The World Health Organisation projects approximately 250,000 additional annual fatalities due to malnutrition, malaria, diarrheal illnesses, and heat-related stress between 2030 and 2050.

The World Bank's 2023 Kenya Country and Development Report indicated significant health risks, including increased exposure to vector and waterborne diseases, heat stress, and air pollution. The report highlighted a 56 percent rise in malaria-related mortality and a 35 percent increase in dengue fever cases by 2050.

Furthermore, direct economic implications on health systems could soar by $2-$4 billion per annum by 2030.