According to UN News, although electricity is important to healthcare provision, almost a billion people in poorer countries – one-eighth of the worldwide population – are accomodated by health facilities that lack dependable supply, an UN-backed report launched on Saturday has stated.
The research presents the latest data on the electrification of healthcare organizations in low- and middle-income nations and projects investments required to achieve adequate and dependable power.
It was made public by the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the World Bank, and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll).
A case of life and death
“Electricity permit in healthcare facilities can make the distinction between life and death,” stated Dr. Maria Neira, WHO interim Assistant Director-General for Healthier Populations.
“Financing in reliable, clean and sustainable energy for healthcare facilities is not only important to pandemic preparedness, it is also much required to achieve universal health coverage, as well as growing climate resilience and adaptation.”
Admission to electricity is critical for providing quality healthcare, from offering babies to managing emergencies like heart attacks or providing children receive lifesaving vaccines.
Electricity is required to power the virtual devices – lighting, communications equipment, refrigeration, for instance, or those that measure vital signs like blood pressure and heartbeat. It is also important for both routine and emergency process.
Differences in access
However, according to the report, more than one in 10 health institutions in South Asia and sub-Saharan African nations need electricity access whatever, and power is unreliable in half of all hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa.
Although with recent progress, approximately one billion people are catered by healthcare facilities without reliable electricity supply or none at all. This number is nearly as large as the entire populations of the United States, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Germany together.
There are also stark differnece in access within the countries themselves. According to the report, primary healthcare centers and rural facilities are considerably low likely to have electricity access than hospitals and institutions in urban areas.
Urgent intervention needed
The report says that the electrification of healthcare facilities “must be taken into consideration an utmost development urgency.”
A World Bank requires analysis included in the report showed that almost two-thirds of healthcare institutions in low and middle-income countries need some form of urgent involvement, such as a new electricity connection or backup power supply.
Almost $5 billion is urgently required to bring them to a minimal standard of electrification.
The sustainable solutions present
The authors stated decentralized sustainable energy solutions are available, which would significantly impact health delivery, citing the instance of solar photovoltaic systems, which convert sunlight into electricity.
These solutions are cost-effective, pristine, and rapidly deployable on-site, meaning there is no call for waiting for the arrival of the central energy network.
The authors added that healthcare systems and facilities are increasingly affected by the climate emergency’s impacts.
Therefore, making them more strong calls for building facilities and services that can meet the problems of climate change while enahncing environmental sustainability.
Data from China COVID-19 is welcomed
Recently, World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed data from China on its COVID-19 spread, according to a statement issued following a conversation amongst Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Minister Ma Xiaowei, Director of the nations’ National Health Commission.
“WHO values this meeting, as well as the public release of information on the complete situation,” the UN agency said.
In a press conference, Chinese officials provided information to WHO on outpatient clinics, patients requiring emergency treatment and critical care, hospitalizations, and COVID-19-related hospital deaths.
WHO is analyzing the data, covering the time from the beginning of December 2022 to 12 January 2023, remembering that it has requested China to share detailed information.
According to the data, the present intense COVID-19 surge has been created by known Omicron subvariants. It mainly affects elderly people and those with underlying health conditions, alike to waves of infections experienced by other nations.
“The reported data show a decline in case numbers, hospitalizations, and those needing critical care. WHO has requested a more detailed division of data by province over time,” stated the statement.
In the call, Tedros also reiterated the importance of China’s deeper cooperation and transparency in understanding the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and in carrying out recommendations comprehensive in the report by its Strategic Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens.