Energy poverty deprives 1 billion of adequate healthcare, says report
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Energy poverty has left more than 1 billion people in developing countries without access to adequate healthcare, with staff forced to treat emergency patients in the dark, and health centres lacking the power they need to store vaccines or sterilise medical supplies, according to a report.
In India, nearly half of all health facilities – serving an estimated 580 million people – lack electricity, according to this year’s Poor People’s Energy Outlook (pdf), published on Wednesday by the NGO Practical Action. A further 255 million people are served by health centres without electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, it says, where over 30% of facilities lack power.
“For critical and urgent health services such as emergency treatments and childbirth, staff have no option but to cope as well as possible in low lighting or in the dark, increasing the risk for all patients, including mothers and babies,” the report says.