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School of Public Health
College of Health Sciences, Makerere University

The Solar Project

Principal Investigator


World Health Organization


The Solar project is towards improving maternal and child health (MCH) outcomes. It is an implementation research exploring the impact of sustainable electrification of health facilities focusing on maternal and new-born health services. The project is being implemented in Uganda and Ghana in partnership with WHO. In Uganda, the project is being implemented in 36 energy-deprived, hard-to-reach health facilities in 8 districts.

The research team includes:

  • Principal Investigator: Dr. John Ssempebwa 
  • Co-PIs: Dr. John Bosco Isunju and Dr.  Elizabeth Nabiwemba

Purpose of the project

The overarching goal of the study is to deepen the evidence base on linkages between accessibility and reliability of electricity in health facilities and service delivery outcomes, in particular at the primary care level. In drawing lessons and insights from the electrification of the health facilities included in the wider project, the study also seeks to inform the design and delivery of future interventions.

Specific objectives:

  1. Monitor the implementation of the UNF/DFID intervention “electrification of health facilities with solar systems”.
  2. Determine the impacts of electrification of health facilities with solar systems on service delivery for maternal and newborn health using routine data.
  3. Determine the experienced and perceived impacts by mothers of the electrification of health facilities with solar systems.
  4. Identify barriers to and facilitators of electrification of health facilities with solar systems, as well as intended and unintended consequences of electrification.
  5. Develop policy-relevant evidence to integrate energy service considerations into health services planning, resourcing and evaluation.

Findings of the study will provide information about changes in accessibility, quality, and use of health services brought about as a result of the deployment of solar energy systems. New insights will be generated about the interdependencies between electricity access and health services provision.

This evidence can then be used to raise awareness about opportunities for health associated with investments in sustainable energy solutions for health care facilities. It can also be used to inform the design and implementation of electricity interventions so as to better meet health systems and community needs. This work will also highlight the importance of generating knowledge on how electrification can be implemented and integrated into health systems in resource limited settings in order to ensure that these investments are sustainable in the longer term.

Findings from this study will identify key indicators and outcomes of effective integration of sustainable energy solutions in the health system and explore systems dynamics models for successful implementation. Identifying the minimum standard of energy needs for MCH services will also serve as a policy tool to facilitate collaboration between health and energy sectors and act as a first step in setting energy guidelines for health services. 

It is also expected that the tools used and results generated from this implementation study will catalyse wider interest and research on this topic. Furthermore, using an implementation research approach allows for real time assessment of performance and provides practical recommendations for the scale up of interventions that support health systems strengthening. This approach is not merely explanatory of what happens during an intervention; it also creates an interactive process for refinement of similar initiatives in order to support successful adaptation.