Global Assessment of Electricity in Healthcare Facilities

Taking stock of available global data on health facility electrification

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3, “Good Health and Well-being”, calls for the global community to come together to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” To accomplish that goal will require achieving universal access to high-quality health care, reducing maternal mortality and preventable childhood deaths, and fighting infectious disease, among other targets. 

In turn, access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy – Sustainable Development Goal 7 – will be critical for achieving these objectives. Yet the role of modern energy services as an input to quality healthcare is rarely emphasized and remains little explored. Energy is critical for the organization and delivery of many health services, but there is a striking dearth of even the most fundamental data on energy access and energy requirements for health facilities in most of the world.

In response, EAP@Duke – alongside colleagues at the World Resources Institute and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – has initiated a project for the World Health Organization to develop a Global Assessment of Electricity in Healthcare Facilities. The Global Assessment, which is also supported by Sustainable Energy for All, the World Bank, and the International Renewable Energy Association, will take stock of available data on health facility electrification globally, taking into account the multidimensional nature of electricity access, such as its reliability, affordability, and quality. It will also provide insights about supportive policy frameworks, effective business models, and technical and economic aspects of both grid-based and decentralized electrification solutions. It will draw attention to the lack of reliable electricity access in healthcare facilities in low- and middle-income countries, highlight the opportunity to provide better health services by powering health care facilities with decentralized clean energy solutions, and inform evidence-based decision-making by serving as a benchmark against which progress in electrifying healthcare facilities can be measured.

Throughout, the report will feature real-world examples to illustrate key success factors and lessons, with an eye toward scaling up or transferring lessons to other contexts. Drawing on quantitative evidence and novel case studies, it will offer recommendations for diverse stakeholders, including clinic administrators, regional and national planners, donors, civil society, and private companies, on effective means to accelerate provision of reliable power for healthcare facilities.