Filed under: Climate change Development Environment

the solar team at work

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called the Aral Sea was “one of the worst environmental disasters of the world”

Here at UNDP in Uzbekistan, we are working to better the lives of those affected by the Aral Sea disaster.

As part of this programme, we recently procured solar panels in order to provide access to alternative energy sources for rural healthcare facilities in the Muynak district.

So far, we’ve finished installation of the solar panels in nine healthcare facilities. We’re hoping this will help increase local villagers’ access to better quality health services by ensuring that medical equipment can run uninterrupted, and that drugs are stored safely.

When the installation of the solar panels is finalized, the experts will teach local residents how to properly manage and maintain them. For Ulmeken Toimbetova, the head of one such facility, the results are a game changer:

“We used to have power interruptions earlier and have been experiencing difficulties with keeping drugs in refrigerators. From now on we can be confident that our drugs will permanently be kept at the required temperature.”

Since the region is abundant with sunlight, installation and use of the solar panels will be a viable alternative option for the local population to gain access to new energy sources.

 “Our healthcare point serves 1,363 people in an area of 28 square kilometers. From now on these people will have better access to health care services. Installation of all nine solar systems in nine rural healthcare facilities will ensure access for 29,000 people in the Muynak district,” Toimbetova added.

On 19 June, I helped organize a workshop in the district aimed at increasing citizens’ awareness of the newly installed panels.

The workshop was attended by the district’s mayor, the Deputy Minister of Health of Karakalpakstan, UN staff, as well as local healthcare workers and specialists of the district electric power station.

Experts from the solar panel company also joined and provided detailed information for the participants on how to maintain and operate the new gear. A practical demonstration of the solar panels in operation followed.

All in all, it was a memorable day. I’m confident that events like these will ensure many more sunny days for the men, women, and children in the Muynak district.

>> Check out more photos and other updates on our Aral Sea Facebook page