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Uganda: Kalungi Hospital Water and Electrification Project

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Map of Uganda and its neighbors.

Kalungi Hospital is located 125 kilometers south of Kampala, Uganda, off the Kampala-Masaka Highway. The facility serves as both a health clinic and a nursing school; nurses who complete the Kalungi program are deployed into village hospitals. The hospital has a seven person staff with one medical assistant. The clinic sees 20 to 30 patients daily; this number increases to about 50 during malaria season. Some patients can pay a small fee of roughly 400 shillings, or 22 cents.



The project at Kalungi Hospital involved the electrification of the hospital, as well as the provision of clean water to the hospital and local community. A preliminary assessment was completed in the initial phases to determine the energy demands and the appropriate technology to meet those demands. Due to insufficient wind resources and the high cost of fuel, a photovoltaic system (PV) presented the best available option to meet the power needs of Kalungi. To meet the electrification goal, a 1.6 kW solar array was installed at the hospital to serve the electricity needs onsite. This includes 80 energy-efficient lights, a refrigerator and diagnostic equipment. To provide clean water, a 2.6 kW solar array was installed several kilometers away at a well site. This array powers a pump which pumps the water up a hill to a holding tank at the hospital. A pipeline runs back down the hill with spigots in several locations to provide clean water to the community. The separate pipeline helps to ensure that the water traveling to the tank remains under pressure and uncontaminated.

To cover the cost of ongoing maintenance and operations, the Kalungi Hospital sold excess water to the surrounding community. The revenue was used to train two long-standing hospital employees to maintain the electrification and water systems. Funds were also used to hire a security guard to keep the electrification system secure from thieves at all hours. In addition, Solar Energy Uganda Ltd., the group responsible for purchasing the system, offered a 5-year warranty for the water pump and a 25-year warranty for the PV system.


Electrification Project Specifications


  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Solar Light for Africa, Ltd. (SLA)
  • Solar Energy Uganda, Ltd. (SEU)
  • Geneva Global Foundation/Global Environment & Technology Foundation (GETF)
  • United States Agency for International Development
Total Electrification and Water Project Cost: 
$121,000 (Includes contractor and equipment costs, excludes overhead/administrative costs)

Source: Solar Light for Africa, 2006

System size: 1.6 kW Solar array (0.2 kW DC system and 1.4 kW AC system)

Load: 80 lights, refrigerator, and diagnostic equipment

Total Electrification Project Cost: $38,000 (including contractor and equipment costs, excluding administrative/overhead costs).


Electrification Benefits

  • Extended clinic hours, including services to patients throughout the night
  • Continued study for nursing students at night
  • Capability to sterilize medical instruments
  • Fuel savings of approximately $25,000/year
  • Power for diagnostic equipment such as microscopes
  • Refrigeration of vaccines, medicines, and diagnostic supplies
  • Extended computer use and capability
  • Increased surgery load; better overall patient care locally
  • Less likelihood of patient transport to Masaka District facility for in-depth care


Water Project Specifications

  • Provision of clean water for health clinic and community
  • Powered by 2.6 kW solar array

Key components: 50,000 L double wall, concrete water tank at the health clinic, 2.7 km of pipeline, submersible pump, UV water purification unit. Hydrological surveys ensure water site basin will survive all dry seasons.

Note: Purification of water is completed in several stages: A 12 M deep well was dug and developed. From the well, a water passage was constructed, filtering water through two chambers. From the source, the water is pumped by a PV direct submersible pump to the main tank a total distance 2.2 km. It is then distributed throughout the hospital, to a school, and to the community.

Total Water Project Cost: $83,000 (includes contractor and equipment costs, excludes administrative/overhead costs).


Water Project Benefits

  • Clean drinking water for community (100,000 people): In addition to the spigots installed at the Health Clinic, three spigots were installed in the local community in order to give the local residents access to clean, potable water
  • Less likelihood that the local spring will be contaminated by animals or people collecting water since the area has been secured and the communal spigots are more convenient
  • Less likelihood of water-borne illnesses at the hospital, including dysentery
  • Improved cleanliness and hygiene at the health clinic
  • Better overall community health - the doctor in charge expects to see significantly reduced incidences of dysentery and other ailments transmitted through unclean water.


Stories - Power for Water - thumbnail

Stories: Power for Water

In Uganda, diarrheal diseases are responsible for 17% of deaths for children under 5 and account for 30,000 deaths per year in all age groups. In addition, families spend countless hours each day transporting water from source to point-of-use locations. In the conflict-affected regions in the North, the daily trek to get water increases the vulnerability of women to attack.