Access to energy during a pandemic
Since the outbreak of the health pandemic in the world as a result of the spread of the new Corona virus (Covid-19), all humanity – without exception for rich or poor countries – has faced many challenges, foremost of which is the provision of sustainable health care, so the health sector around the world is accelerating its pace to provide the necessary service and health care for infected cases.
At first glance, it may seem difficult to understand the relationship between the health sector and the energy sector, and due to the global Corona pandemic, the importance of securing safe electrical supplies, sustainable medical supply chains and highly efficient refrigeration devices for storing vaccines has emerged.
On an international level, a number of governments around the world have realized the need to combine health and energy and create synergies between them. To emphasize the importance of linking health and energy globally, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (17 goals) were included in the third goal on achieving good health, and the seventh goal on securing affordable and clean energy, as this link is an important step to mitigate the effects of the health pandemic and save hundreds of lives. Millions.
The effects of the health pandemic… the deterioration of the humanitarian scene
The pandemic imposes severe pressure on the global economy, as countries that were facing development challenges before the pandemic have a development landscape in dire straits due to the effects of the virus. If hospitals and communities do not have access to energy, it could amplify the human catastrophe and significantly slow down the global recovery.
In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that only 28% of health facilities have access to reliable electricity. Reliable and affordable electricity is needed to keep people connected at home, and to run life-saving equipment in hospitals. With the virus spreading, especially across Africa and parts of Asia, one of the most widely used preventive measures is a luxury that not all countries can afford.
The social distancing and stay-at-home measures being adopted in many countries are based on an important assumption, which is that residents have access to reliable and affordable electricity, to stay connected, and continue to communicate with public services and with each other from a distance.. But 840 million people – Most of them are in sub-Saharan Africa – they live without electricity, and hundreds of millions have very limited or unreliable electricity. Many of these people, mostly women, reside either in crowded cities or in rural areas. “Shelter in place” in such areas for extended periods of time may not be feasible, because energy is required to cook and store food or to cool homes.
Even when therapies and vaccines needed to respond to a pandemic are available, the lack of a cold chain and refrigeration will hamper governments’ efforts to contain the effects of the pandemic, meaning that a lack of access to energy will amplify human catastrophe and slow down the speed of recovery.
Response Methods :
The global crisis caused by the health pandemic has prompted governments around the world to take emergency support measures. It is understood that most of the measures focus on health care, as the response to the pandemic is the concern shared by governments around the world to eliminate it, and to achieve this, it is necessary to prioritize energy solutions that enable the provision of health care and medical front-line services, to deal with emergencies in During a pandemic and the distribution of vaccines, whose preservation requires controlled cooling, priority should be given to health units that do not have access to reliable electricity in low-income countries.
Another way to respond is to keep low-income or vulnerable communities connected off the grid, who may not be able to afford their electric bills, so it is important to adopt consumer protections to secure a reliable supply of electric power.
Countries should take advantage of affordable energy sources that can aid in the economic recovery in the wake of the health pandemic. This could allow countries to recover better, to ensure universal access to energy and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.