Although electricity is critical to healthcare provision, nearly a billion people in poorer countries - one-eighth of the global population - are served by health facilities that lack reliable supply, according to an UN-backed report revealed on Saturday.
The study presents the latest data on electrification of healthcare facilities in low- and middle-income countries, and projects investments required to achieve adequate and reliable power.
“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.”
Access to electricity is critical for providing people with quality healthcare, from delivering babies to managing emergencies like heart attacks, or ensuring children receive lifesaving vaccines.
Electricity is required to power the most basic devices - lighting, communications equipment and refrigeration, for example, or those that measure vital signs like heartbeat and blood pressure. It is also crucial for both routine and emergency procedures. However, more than one in 10 health facilities in South Asia and sub-Saharan African countries lack any electricity access whatever, according to the report, and power is unreliable in half of all facilities in sub-Saharan Africa.
The report stressed that electrification of healthcare facilities “must be considered an utmost development priority”.