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Two Key Hospitals Benefit From Solar-Powered Desalination Plants 

Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital and the Mombasa Hospital on Wednesday inaugurated the largest solar-powered water treatment and desalination systems in Africa.

The two health facilities are among 23 hospitals and clinics in the country that benefited from the new technology water equipment through the support of German government.

The newly launched solar powered and desalination plants produce fresh hygienic drinking water from saline or bacterially contaminated water.

The project which is supported via the developPPP.de program is aimed at mitigating the impact of Covid-19 pandemic and will have the capacity to supply over one million litres of hygiene drinking water daily.

The construction works of the modern hybrid seawater desalination and treatment plants were carried out by a German based firm Boreal Light on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and developments in partnership with a Kenyan company, Water Kiosk.

The equipment was officially unveiled on Wednesday at the two hospitals during a ceremony presided over by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Water Sector Trust Fund Ismail Shaiye who represented the Cabinet Secretary for Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Sicily Kariuki.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Boreal Light Hamed Beheshti (M), Water Kiosk Ltd co-founder and Director Samuel Kinyanjui (L) and Mombasa Hospital Director of Administration Abass Nasser during the launching of solar-powered water treatment and desalination systems on Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Others who attended the event included the CEO of Boreal Light Hamed Beheshti, Water Kiosk Ltd co-founder and Director Samuel Kinyanjui, Mombasa Hospital Director of Administration Abass Nasser, vice chairman of the hospital’s Board of Management Dr. Samson Bebora, Coast General Referral and Teaching Hospital deputy CEO Dr. Mary Ochola and County Executive Committee Member (Treasury) Maryam Mbaruk.

Ms Mbaruk who represented Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said the county lacks its own source of water and was entirely depending on fresh water sources outside the coastal county.

“We are having a huge shortfall of water supply as our demand is about 140,000 litres per day while we receive between 30,000 to 35,000 litres,” said the County official.

Dr Ochola hailed the German government for the support saying the hospital suffers from critical water shortage and the solar powered desalination unit will be turning borehole salt water into fresh drinkable water with the power of the sun.

“The provision of reliable and safe water to this third largest referral hospital in the country is of utmost importance,” said Dr Ochola.

On his part, Dr Bebora said the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene cannot be overemphasized in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

He said the provision of safe water, sanitation and hygienic conditions is essential for preventing and for protecting human health during this pandemic period.

Mr Shaiye welcomed the installation, saying, both the public and private sectors must come with innovative ways to improve water provision in the country.

He said the Trust Fund has disbursed Sh 6.9 billion to 78 water companies in the country to cushion them after failing to raise required revenue during the Covid-19 period.

“Most of them were not able to raise projected revenue during the beginning of coronavirus after the government ordered them not to disconnect water for those unable to pay their monthly bills,” he added.

Mr. Beheshti said Boreal Light GmbH is a Berlin-based company that developed an innovative water desalination system that is durable, scalable, and affordable.

He said the systems are simple and can be used with both brackish and seawater sources and is run entirely on solar powered energy which is abundant in Africa.

Mr. Kinyanjui said the Water Kiosk Company is determined to increase access to water and sanitation services using solar energy across the coastal and northern parts of Kenya where endless burning hot sun is just waiting to be harnessed.

Similar projects were installed at two Catholic parishes at Mtwapa and Likoni to help in the provision of fresh and safe water for the parishioners and nearby communities.

By Mohamed Hassan

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