On July 6, 2021 Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC) to promote access to more equitable, affordable and quality healthcare through the adoption of renewable energy and DRE-based electricity systems. This MoU is part of Shakti’s efforts to integrate clean energy into strategies for improving development outcomes across Indian states.
Decentralised Renewable Energy and Healthcare
Health and well-being play a vital role in development and poverty reduction. But without proper electricity, health facilities cannot run life-saving equipment, store blood, vaccines and other medicines, or conduct safe deliveries and improve maternal mortality rates.
Despite an increase in electrification under the SAUBHAGYA scheme many health facilities in rural India are forced to function without regular electricity supply, or no supply at all. In the absence of grid power, many facilities use diesel generators, which are expensive to run, increase emissions and add to the financial burden of the health centre.
The COVID-19 crisis highlighted several existing systemic gaps in health services, especially for the rural poor. For example, over 39,000 Sub Centres, the first point of contact between primary healthcare system and the community, serving 230 million people in rural India lack proper electricity. Even without the crises, our health institutions face resource and technology constraints, with electricity bills draining their limited resources. The lack of adequate technology too impacts the delivery of health care.
Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE) solutions have the potential to bring huge dividends for health care in India. For instance, they provide flexibility to design systems that can cater to the power load of a health centre, increase reliability and performance, cater to critical loads such as vaccine refrigerators, and supply services to remote and disaster-prone areas where access related challenges are most acute.
Working with NHSRC, Shakti is contributing to the development of a more enabling ecosystem to mainstream renewable energy and DRE in public healthcare services. Under the MoU, Shakti provides technical support for policy design and implementation, facilitates the development of tools and frameworks and helps build the capacity of stakeholders in the health sector.
National Health Systems Resource Centre, established in 2007, assists in policy and strategy development for provision and mobilisation of technical assistance and capacity building in states.