Boosting Benghazi’s Health Sector: Solar Energy for Al-Kwayfia Hospital

DSC_0294Dr. Anas Albarghathi, Al-Kwayfia Hospital Director and surgical personnel at the surgical department which will be solar powered by a system installed with support from the Stabilization Facility for Libya (SFL) managed by UNDP. Photo: ©UNDP/Nada Elfeituri.

 

Driving to the edge of Benghazi’s city limits will lead you to the bustling district of Al-Kwayfia. Small but lively, this suburb houses the eponymous Al-Kwayfia Respiratory Hospital, one of the few public health centers in Libya that treat respiratory illnesses and infectious diseases.

The hospital’s location, away from the active fighting zones, has not prevented it from being affected by the conflict. Many internally displaced people (IDPs) have sought shelter in the area and medical attention in Al-Kwayfia. The cases of tuberculosis received by the hospital have also increased due to the gaps health sector and the arrival of irregular migrants who did not receive the adequate health care. One of the main challenges the medical staff was facing when trying to aid the local inhabitants and newcomers was the power shortage. The electricity blackouts were continuous and hampered the surgeons' work.

“In the middle of a surgical procedure, the power used to go off and the doctor had to stop the operation until the generator was turned on, putting in risk the patient's life,” said Dr. Said Al-Megrahi, Head of Medical Affairs Department at Al-Kwayfia Hospital. “The irregular electrical currents have also damaged our machines. This has really affected our ability to help our patients.” 

Al-Kwayfia Hospital in the suburbs of Benghazi. Photo: ©UNDP/Nada Elfeituri.

The Stabilization Facility for Libya (SFL) supported by the United National Development Programme (UNDP), provided Al-Kwayfia hospital not only with a generator but with an innovative and definitive energy solution: solar panels.

 “It is a great step and an entirely new idea,” said Dr. Anas Albarghathi, Al-Kwayfia Hospital Director. “Although it has not been done in Libya before, we were incredibly thrilled to have this new energy system installed in our hospital.”

Highlights

  • The Stabilization Facility for Libya (SFL) supported by the United National Development Programme (UNDP), provided Al-Kwayfia hospital not only with a generator but with an innovative and definitive energy solution: solar panels.
  • Al-Kwayfia’s position as a key health facility comes not only from the vital medical services it provides but also for its help to smaller health clinics.
  • SFL is also supporting the hospital with the construction of two new operating rooms which will include a disinfection room for equipment and a patient observation area.
  • Among the hospital’s future plans is the opening of its intensive care unit, modernizing the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, and developing the surgery department.

“Doctors won’t have to stop an operation because the power won’t go off. Equipment such as the ventilators and the anesthetic machine won’t be damaged. The solar power system means a stable electricity supply, just what we need to continue our work,” affirmed Dr. Said.

Al-Kwayfia Hospital Director, Dr. Anas, has been leading the hospital towards more efficient and cost-cutting methods in order to cope with the health sector crisis in Libya.

“The renewable energy system installed in our hospital by Stabilization Facility for Libya will not only provide us with a sustainable long-term energy solution, but it will also help us financially in the short-term,” said Dr. Anas. “The 270,000 LYD annual electricity bill will be reduced thanks to the solar grid”. 

DSC_0274Dr. Anas Albarghathi, Al-Kwayfia Hospital Director, explains the new technology the hospital is introducing to improve diagnostics. Photo: ©UNDP/Nada Elfeituri.

Al-Kwayfia’s position as a key health facility comes not only from the vital medical services it provides but also for its help to smaller health clinics. After completing the construction of an oxygen tank unit in the hospital to reduce the costs of depending on a third-party supplier, the hospital opened this service free of charge to other clinics. 

“With the solar power installation, SFL is helping this hospital to help other clinics since we are supporting them with the money we are saving in electricity,” explained Dr. Anas.

SFL is also supporting the hospital with the construction of two new operating rooms which will include a disinfection room for equipment and a patient observation area.

“The improvement of the surgery department will be a huge step forward for all of East Libya,” affirmed Dr. Anas.

Among the hospital’s future plans is the opening of its intensive care unit, modernizing the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, and developing the surgery department. Dr. Anas and his team are committed to saving lives in Benghazi without subjecting patients to the exorbitant fees found in private-sector care. “As the city begins to heal after the conflict”, he concluded, “We want to be prepared for any future medical emergency.”

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