Close to 1 billion people in low and lower-middle-income countries are served by healthcare facilities with unreliable electricity supply or with no electricity access at all, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll).
Access to electricity is critical for quality healthcare provision, from delivering babies to managing emergencies like heart attacks, or offering lifesaving immunization. Without reliable electricity in all healthcare facilities, Universal Health Coverage cannot be reached, the report notes, according to a WHO press statement.
The joint report, Energizing Health: Accelerating Electricity Access in Health-Care Facilities, presents the latest data on electrification of healthcare facilities in low- and middle-income countries. It also projects investments required to achieve adequate and reliable electrification in health-care and identify key priority actions for governments and development partners.
“Electricity access in healthcare facilities can make the difference between life and death,” said Dr Maria Neira, Assistant Director-General a.i, for Healthier Populations at WHO. “Investing in reliable, clean and sustainable energy for health-care facilities is not only crucial to pandemic preparedness, it’s also much needed to achieve universal health coverage, as well as increasing climate resilience and adaptation.”
The report states that electricity is needed to power the most basic devices – from lights and communications equipment to refrigeration, or devices that measure vital signs like heartbeat and blood pressure – and is critical for both routine and emergency procedures.
When healthcare facilities have access to reliable sources of energy, critical medical equipment can be powered and sterilized, clinics can preserve lifesaving vaccines, and health workers can carry out essential surgeries or deliver babies as planned.
“And yet, in South Asia and sub-Saharan African countries, more than 1 in 10 health facilities lack any electricity access whatsoever, the report finds, while power is unreliable for a full half of facilities in sub-Saharan Africa,” the joint report said.
Although there has been some progress in recent years on electrification of health-care facilities, approximately 1 billion people worldwide are served by health-care facilities without a reliable electricity supply or no electricity at all.
According to the report, disparities in electricity access within countries are also stark. Primary healthcare centres and rural health facilities are considerably less likely to have electricity access than hospitals and facilities in urban areas.
Electricity access is a major enabler of Universal Health Coverage, the report states, and so electrification of healthcare facilities must be considered an utmost development priority requiring greater support and investments from governments, development partners and financing and development organizations. (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.