The hospital tries to make up for the lack of heat with electric space heaters, which are costly and inefficient, and mean that there is not money for other things that are important for new mothers and new babies.
"We have one shower for the whole maternity ward. Our resources are very scarce.... we keep the lights off to save energy,” says Angela Turcan, Head of the maternity ward . “We're lucky we have plastic bottles to use [to fill with hot water] to keep the babies warm. We have to be very innovative.”
Through the Energy II Project , the Moldovan Government, supported by the World Bank, is working to improve heating and lighting systems in public buildings across the country. Among other results, so far the project has improved heating in 23 schools and 12 medical institutions, benefiting 8,399 students and about 1 million patients, staff and visitors.
"The old system was broken, so the water froze in the radiators. We were without heating for 5 years and had only electric heat. The new system is more affordable,” said Marina Rosca, Chief Administrator at a hospital now renovated by the project.
Her colleague Heluta Vovc, Head of Physical Therapy , echoed her sentiments: "Electrical Heaters weren't powerful enough to do the job; so patients used to have to wear coats during the procedure."
The project has benefits for the environment, as well. Greenhouse gas emissions were reduced with the switch from oil or coal to gas and the participating municipalities now receive carbon credits (about $10,000 per municipality).
But for Moldovan students, teachers, doctors and patients, the real benefit is that it means there is more money for other important priorities, and that the project is literally helping to keep the lights on and the rooms warm.