Energy Access: Powering Health Care

Last week the United Nations Foundation held its Powering Health Care Conference here in Nairobi. I moderated a panel of fantastic researchers as we explored what the data says about the link between clean energy access and health care.

The statistics were staggering — health care facilities with reliable electricity supply perform better in number of successful deliveries, patient intake, staff retention and community engagement.

Yet the number of health facilities operating without power in sub Saharan Africa is mind-blowing. I learned so much at this event last week, and the healthcare community was loud and clear — electricity and water are simply the basic minimum for health care service and must be seen as such. I think champions outside of the “energy sector” are actually key to advancing access up the priority ladder.

I also want to acknowledge the United Nations Foundation for creating a true space of diversity and representation, critical for conversations around women’s health. My panel was entirely made up of young women of color leading the field of research. It was a moment to be proud of. Thanks to the United Nations Foundation team for allowing me to be a part of this event, which is a part of my work on energy and developing, exploring the data that demonstrates linkages between energy access and other SDGs.