Meghalaya to construct climate- resilient health centres using community participation
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma

Guwahati: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has launched the Health Systems Strengthening programme, which employs village-level participatory models for developing designs and constructing energy-optimised and climate-resilient health centre facilities in the state.

Over the next 3 years, 150 such health centres will be built across the state.

The state government collaborated with SELCO Foundation and Sauramandala Foundation for technical design development and processes for implementation of the programme.

Most health centers in the state are susceptible to the impacts of climate and disasters, affecting the access to healthcare itself. The well-being of both patients – community and the auxiliary nurses and midwives, who run and manage the centers are negatively impacted.

Poor building infrastructure with leakages, indoor cold stress, ineffective heating, poor natural light and cramped spaces also reduces attendance of critical-care seekers like mothers, infants, elderly etc.

Most designs and guidelines deployed do not consider the needs and functional requirements of the occupants. An exercise in participatory design that includes the voices of the community, ANMs, District Medical and Health Officers, local construction stakeholders allows for local ownership and effectiveness in the construction and maintenance processes of the facilities.

The designs developed and deployed will be resilient to extreme cold, heavy winds, earthquakes and landslides with universal accessibility considerations inclusive of community halls, daycare and play spaces with gardens.

Materials utilised will be locally sourced ensuring sustainable practices for comfortable indoor conditions of temperature and humidity. The centres are also designed to utilise optimal energy for light and ventilation and will be augmented with solar power and energy-efficient appliances.

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said, “During Covid-19, the doctors, ANMs and asha workers faced a lot of issues at the PHCs, CHCs and sub centres due to limited resources, medical equipment and irregular energy access and limited skilled manpower. These experiences pointed out the importance of strengthening the health sector in the state. This has led to a programme to build new sub centres in the regions with poor access to health care. Through partnership with SELCO foundation and sauramandala foundation we are ensuring sustainable, disaster resilient and integrated clean energy health centres.”

Ramkumar S, Mission Director of National Health Mission, Meghalaya and Joint Secretary of Health and Family Welfare, said, “In this unique approach where we are creating village health councils to democratise and deliver quality health care at the last mile, the technical partnership with selco foundation and sauramandalaa foundation has brought climate preparedness and community participation in the design process. This is a template that can be replicated across the country.”

Dr. Harish Hande said, “SELCO firmly believes that an end-user centric, ground up approach towards climate resilient interventions are long-term, and replicable. This is only possible given the incredible championship by the Public Health Department of Government of Meghalaya. We are honoured to be partnering with the Government of Meghalaya to develop a model approach for sustainable energy integrated green built environments that demonstrate local ownership and capacity building from end to end truly showcasing a decentralised approach to sustainable development.”

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