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1bn served by healthcare facilities without reliable electricity

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 16 January, 2023 12:00 AM
  • Print news
1bn served by healthcare facilities without reliable electricity
A mother and child receive care at Mobarakpur Community Clinic in Kulaura upazila in Moulvibazar. — UN photo

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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.  

It was published by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll), says the UN News. “Electricity access in healthcare facilities can make the difference between life and death,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO interim Assistant Director-General for Healthier Populations.

“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”.