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‘Energy Poverty’ Leaves More Than 1B In Developing Countries Without Access To Adequate Health Care, Report Says

“Energy poverty has left more than one billion people in developing countries without access to adequate health care, with staff forced to treat emergency patients in the dark, and health centers lacking the power they need to store vaccines or sterilize medical supplies, according to … this year’s Poor People’s Energy Outlook (.pdf), published on Wednesday by the [non-governmental organization] Practical Action,” the Guardian reports. “Even where health centers have access to power, frequent power shortages significantly hamper the ability to provide quality care, it says,” the newspaper writes, and provides examples.

“Energy has shot up the international agenda, buoyed by the Sustainable Energy for All initiative led by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which aims to achieve universal access to energy by 2030 along with efficiency gains and increased use of renewable energy,” according to the Guardian, which adds, “Wednesday’s report, however, warns that too little attention has been paid to the needs of critical community services, putting progress on development goals, particularly on health and education, at risk.” The newspaper writes, “The report sets out a new, multi-tier framework for measuring people’s access to energy, developed by Practical Action with the U.N. and the World Bank, as an alternative to current systems that it says ignore the needs of poor people by focusing on large-scale, grid-based energy supply” (Provost, 3/7).