Decarbonizing Healthcare to Improve Service Delivery and Reduce Emissions in India
Electricity is essential for basic healthcare services – from diagnostics to conducting surgical procedures. Without electricity, a healthcare facility cannot ensure a sterilized environment for patients, or store life-saving medications and vaccines. Even for basic facilities such as lighting, heating, cooling, pumping water, record keeping of patients and training – electricity is a necessity. In a post-COVID-19 world, to roll out new technologies such as telemedicine services in remote areas a reliable source of electricity is required.
Despite significant efforts by various governments, several thousand health sub-centres and Public Health Centres (PHCs), which are often the first point of contact for communities seeking basic healthcare - did not have a reliable electricity connection. The ones that did, suffered from poor quality of power with frequent outages lasting several days and weeks, especially during extreme climate events such as storms and floods. The lack of reliable electricity causes an interruption in service delivery, disallowing healthcare facilities from investing in life-saving equipment. To overcome this, some facilities rely on expensive diesel generator sets causing local air pollution and other negative externalities. Cumulatively, the lack of reliable and clean electricity has a direct impact on the rural and remote communities that need healthcare services and, on the environment, causing local pollution and adding to India’s overall carbon emissions.
WRI India is partnering with HSBC India, to deliver integrated clean energy solutions at healthcare facilities, covering the states of Jharkhand, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Assam. WRI India has been working with development partners in the health sector, such as the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI), to implement decentralized renewable energy interventions in health facilities.
Given the gaps in the electricity infrastructure in the health sector, this project is implementing customized renewable energy (RE) solutions suited to the needs of the healthcare facilities. This will ensure equitable access to improved healthcare services while accelerating India’s clean energy transition. It will demonstrate how new RE installations in remote healthcare centres serving vulnerable communities can improve people’s lives and create models for replication.
The project resulted in the installation of new decentralized RE interventions in the healthcare sector, which improved access to reliable power from non-polluting sources. This in turn, reduced dependency on diesel generators, affecting the overall carbon emissions.
This initiative focuses on healthcare facilities operating in unserved and underserved areas, lagging infrastructure because of a lack of access to a reliable, sustainable, and affordable source of electricity. The project aims to decarbonize the health sector while establishing new healthcare services and improving existing services in the healthcare facilities in select Indian states.
How Bharat Mata Hospital is saving lives with solar power
Solar power helps Carmel Hospital in Jharkhand’s Latehar District serve underserved tribal communities better
Solar success stories of St. Annes and Constant Lievens Hospital
Solar panels to the rescue at St. Luke’s hospital in Godda District, Jharkhand
Success stories and some of the impact numbers from this initiative have been captured in the following series of Infographics. These graphics comprise narratives from the beneficiaries who highlight the advantage of having a reliable source of clean electricity in their hospitals and healthcare facilities. The infographics also provide a snapshot of the results derived from the interventions made.