Residents of Dutsen Alhaji are excited about the commissioning in their community of a solar-powered electricity system.
Sited in the public primary health care centre in the community, the facility produces electricity and has the capacity to supply 20,000 litres of treated water daily.
Madam Popular, a woman in her early 40s who lives in the community in the suburb of Abuja, said the facility has brought “relief” to the residents.
“Light in Dutse is not regular, sometimes it is off for three days, depending on your area,” she told PREMIUM TIMES during the commissioning of the project Thursday last week.
“From what I heard here today, this machine will not only provide light for us it will also give us water. That is good news for everyone in this community.”
The private project was wholly financed by PVWater International Ltd, a joint venture company between SC Sustainable Conceots GmbH in Erfurt, Germany and KXN Nigeria.
Another resident, Adeniyi Mary, said residents often could not access the local primary health centre at night because of the irregular power supply.
“When there is no light, even using the restroom is a problem, because there is no water to clean it.
“This is a great relief for the people and we appreciate Baba Buhari for this project,” she said.
Mrs Adeniyi, however, called on the government to empower women to be able to contribute to the growth of their community.
A resident identified as Ladi said the project will save them from relying on water vendors.
“At least we know this water is clean and safe for drinking, unlike the “pure water” we drink every day.
“Getting water is not easy in Dutsen Alhaji. Sometimes, the water vendors won’t be available,” she said.
Speaking during the commissioning, the Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, said it is one of the few water projects providing treated water to health facilities and communities.
Mr Ehanire who was represented by the Director, Public Private Partnership Unit of the ministry, Omobolale Olowu, said the pilot project is a Public Private Partnership between PVWater, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Capital Territory Administration.
“This installation provides solar – generated electricity and treated water which is safe for drinking. Electricity and clean water are essential to service delivery in a primary health care centre (PHC) and integral to diseases prevention and health promotion,” the minister said.
“This project is a good example of private sector collaboration with Government in a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement where they have undertaken the installation at no cost to Federal Government and will recover their investment over time.”
He commended PVWater and the FCTA for their technical support toward the Federal Ministry of Health’s effort to revitalise PHCs across Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Minister of FCT, Muhammad Bello, said, “Dutsen Alhaji PHC Centre is one of the busiest PHC facilities in the community and provides essential maternal and child health care services such a antenatal and postnatal care, delivery services, immunisation and laboratory services, among others.”
Represented by the Secretary, Health and Human Services, FCTA, Adamu Bappah, Mr Bello said the project would be extended to PHC facilities in other area councils of the FCT.
The director of PVWater International Ltd, Nigeria, Anthony Ighodaro, thanked the government for the opportunity given to the company to establish an “innovative system” on the premises of the PHC, where its services would be available to the community.
The Managing Director, Sustainable Concepts, Hubert Auilch, said the system was privately financed and will compete with other potable water systems that do not have the same quality standards as water from PVWater.
The district head of Dutsen Alhaji, Abubakar Bako, said the project would go a long way in providing access to healthcare and water to the people of the community.
Speaking on having to pay N5 per litre for the water, he said “it’s just like we are paying for light and water. With the benefit we will be getting, we can afford to make the payment.”