The Puerto Rico Community Foundation and the Puerto Rico Primary Health Association formalized an alliance to provide solar energy systems to primary health clinics — 330 Centers — to be overseen by the latter nonprofit.
This will allow the clinics to continue, at a minimum, to operate their emergency rooms and to maintain the refrigeration of vaccines and other important medicines that require refrigeration, the entities said.
This initiative is part of the “Gift of Light” campaign, financially supported by grants from Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Miami Foundation and The Oregon Community Foundation.
The goal is to provide the alternate infrastructure for 28 primary health clinics by the end of the year. The 330 Centers are community-based nonprofits that provide primary and preventive health care in low-income communities in Puerto Rico with limited access to other medical resources.
The alliance between both organizations promotes the sustainability and energetic resiliency as an answer to the current unstable centralized energy system, said Nelson I. Colón-Tarrats, CEO of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation.
“After the hurricane health and survivorship became a pressing issue to the most vulnerable communities in the island. We believe that by providing an alternate source of energy we’ll be able to save lives,” Colón-Tarrats said.
Renewable energy is part of the strategic programmatic design that the Foundation is focusing on in coming years, prompted by the lessons learned after Hurricanes Irma and María, he said.
The relationship between the institutions grew stronger after the hurricanes and it first started when the Foundation hosted the Puerto Rico Primary Health Association in its headquarters and solidified itself as the Foundation provided water purifiers and power generators to maintain centers operating.
The relationship also allowed for the distribution of medical supplies from U.S. donors, the nonprofits explained.
“The Foundation has been a big support to our Association. With this initiative we are projecting proactivity and readiness in lieu of the new hurricane season,” said Alicia Suárez-Fajardo, executive director of the Puerto Rico Primary Health Association.
“We have been effective allies and very keen in the execution, and we hope to keep the collaboration to satisfy the health care demand of our patients,” she added.
Installation of the solar system has been completed in two primary health clinics: Salud Integral en la Montaña (SIM) – Toa Alta II, and Centros Integrados de Servicios de Salud – Quebradillas.
The goal is to complete the process at three more clinics in Aguada, Río Grande and Vega Baja in the next two weeks. The Foundation has recruited several contractors that are collaborating with this effort: Pura Energía, New Energy y Somos Solar/Máximo Solar.