Solar-Powered Hospitals Aim to Save Thousands of Lives in Syria

syria solar powered hospitals uossm
Renewable energy is seen as a "democratizing force" in Syria, capable of saving lives by powering critical infrastructure. UOSSM

A hospital in Syria has become the first institution in a pilot project aiming to save thousands of lives through renewable energy.

After six years of conflict in the country, major sections of the electrical grid have been destroyed. This has forced hospitals and other infrastructure to rely on diesel generators, leading to frequent fuel shortages and significant price increases.

The Syria Solar Initiative by the medical charity UOSSM (Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations) aims to eventually provide reliable electricity to all medical facilities in the country.

The hospital, which was not named by the charity in order to protect the staff and the facility from attacks, was fitted with 480 solar photovoltaic panels and 288 batteries capable of fully powering the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), operating rooms and emergency departments during diesel shortages.

"In our department, we have a total of six incubators. Electricity is critical for the functioning of these incubators," Mohamad Dirbas, a neonatal nurse with UOSSM, said in an emailed statement to Newsweek .

"Electricity must be available continuously without shut down or cut-offs, Even if the electricity was to shut down for half an hour, it can cause severe problems. Children in incubators need a constant temperature."

UOSSM estimates the project will save the hospital 7,000 liters of diesel fuel and help cut energy costs by around a quarter.

"We believe that this type of project brings hope. Solar energy is a democratizing force, that has the capacity to empower institutions and communities in very positive ways," said Tarek Makdissi, project director at UOSSM's Syria Solar Initiative.

"Syria is in one of the best regions globally to harvest solar energy, and needs to be leveraged. The goal now is to empower the health system by scaling the solar project to at least five other critical hospitals. Our dream is to see every medical facility in Syria running on clean, sustainable energy."