Solar power plant benefits local community health – Energize

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Matla A Bokone Solar’s school health programme has kicked off and is set to benefit 4129 learners, across eleven schools, within the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality. This initiative demonstrates how public-private partnerships (PPPs) benefit communities. This programme is aligned with the Department of Education’s Integrated School Health Policy.

The 75 MW Matla A Bokone Solar power plant, located near Kimberley, is one of South Africa’s largest solar PV projects, generating an estimated 180 000 MWh each year.

The programme will be implemented by the Mobile Health Clinics Foundation across eight primary and three high schools, in two phases. The first phase includes Covid-19 hygiene awareness and stigma mitigation screenings, and Covid-19 screenings. Phase 2 will focus on integrated school health screenings.

“We believe that access to quality healthcare for school children is very important, as it also contributes towards their development, increases their knowledge and awareness on health issues, helps them in developing interest in their own health and contributes to their general wellbeing,” says Nomzamo Landingwe, the chief community operations officer for Matla A Bokone, which funds this initiative as part of its solar project’s socio-economic development programme.

The health team will consist of a health coach, professional nurse, an optometrist, and a dental therapist, to provide vision and hearing tests; oral health screening; nutritional status assessments and health education initiatives.

Learners with poor eyesight, who require corrective eyewear, will be supplied by mobile health clinics, and similarly, learners with poor hearing will be referred for assistive hearing devices through the provincial Department of Health.

“The mobile school health clinic eases the burden on the Department of Education while supplementing resources, and furthermore, the screening data can be immediately collated,” said Isaac Ruiter, the principal of Montshiwa Primary School, in Galeshewe, Kimberley.

The Department of Health has provided Covid-19 training to eight young adults, (aged 19 – 25), to assist with the Covid-19 screening. All candidates come from the Sol Plaatje area and have been employed in consultation with the participating schools.

During its 20-year operations period, this solar plant will positively impact communities in the Sol Plaatje Municipal area, including Barkly West, Riverton and Kimberley.

Matla A Bokone Solar is owned by IDEAS Fund, managed by Old Mutual (SA) Ltd, Reatile Solar Power (RF) (Pty) Ltd, Phakwe Solar (RF) (Pty) Ltd, AREP (African Rainbow Energy and Power), and Cicada Community Trust.

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