Renewable Energy Can Improve Health Services For One Billion People

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Date: January 24

The report ‘Energizing health: Accelerating Electricity Access in Health-Care Facilities’, by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll), presents the latest data on electrification of healthcare facilities in low- and middle-income countries, and also projects the investments needed to achieve adequate and reliable electrification in healthcare.

Likewise, the importance of renewable energies to improve electrification in health centers is highlighted, since decentralized sustainable energy solutions, for example those based on photovoltaic solar systems, are not only profitable and clean, but can also be rapidly deployed on site. , without the need to wait for the arrival of the core network. Solutions are easy to come by, and the public health impact would be enormous.

According to this new report, close to one billion people in low- and lower-middle-income countries receive health care in centers that lack a reliable electricity supply. Access to electricity is essential for the provision of quality health care, from childbirth to managing emergencies such as heart attacks, or vaccination to save lives. Without reliable electricity in all health centers, Universal Health Coverage cannot be achieved, the report says. Therefore, the report points out that increasing the electrification of healthcare facilities is essential to save lives.

Opening the report launch event at the 13th IRENA Assembly, IRENA Director General Francesco La Camera stated that “sanitary facilities should be a priority in the electrification plans of both national and partner governments. for development. IRENA stands ready to work with all partners to turn ambitions into action.”

On behalf of the World Bank, Demetrios Papathanasiou, global head of the Energy and Extractives Global Practice, said he looked forward to seeing investments go into healthcare facilities to achieve universal healthcare. Following his intervention, Damilola Ogunbiyi, Executive Director of SEforALL, stated that this report “is the right first step to achieve some of the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Electricity is needed to power the most basic devices—from lights and communications equipment to refrigeration, or devices that measure vital signs such as heartbeat and blood pressure—and is essential for both routine procedures and for emergencies.

However, according to the report, in South Asian and sub-Saharan African countries, more than one in 10 health facilities lack access to electricity, while power is unreliable in half of sub-Saharan African facilities. . Disparities in access to electricity within countries are also notable. Primary care centers and rural health facilities are much less likely to have electricity than hospitals and facilities in urban areas. Understanding these disparities is key to determining where action is most urgent and prioritizing the allocation of resources where they can save lives.

Health is a human right and a public good

According to the report, access to electricity is one of the main enablers of Universal Health Coverage, so the electrification of health facilities should be considered an absolute development priority that requires greater support and investment from governments, partners development and finance and development organizations.

According to a World Bank needs analysis included in the report, almost two-thirds (64%) of sanitation facilities in low- and middle-income countries require some kind of urgent intervention – for example, a new electrical connection or a new plumbing system. reserve power – and some 4.9 billion dollars are urgently needed to bring them to a minimum level of electrification.

In her presentation during the launch event, Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Assistant Director General for Healthier Populations, stated: “There are no excuses for the solution, we don’t have to wait for the network.” IRENA has noted the role of decentralized renewable energy in increasing access to electricity. It is cheap and more resistant to climate change. It is a huge development priority as it saves lives.”

In addition, healthcare systems and facilities are increasingly affected by the accelerating effects of climate change. Building climate-resilient healthcare systems means building facilities and services that can cope with the challenges of a changing climate, such as extreme weather events, while improving environmental sustainability.

Source: Review Energy

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