Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Ways Energy Poverty Affect Healthcare

Lack of adequate energy is not just a way in which we are saying that people don’t have enough energy to recharge their mobile devices. It can be a much a bigger problem. Lack of adequate energy can be, and often is a difference between life and death. I will list six ways in which this is the case for some of the poorest countries in the world.  

The first is that once the sun goes down, doctors struggle to treat patients. Without enough electrical energy to provide light in hospitals doctors cannot see as many patients, especially after dark. When they do attempt to help people at night their attempts are handicapped by being forced to have to depend on candles, torches, or paraffin lamps whose light is low-quality, harmful, and often times more expensive per unit of energy than electric lighting.

Secondly, life saving operations can’t be properly performed without good lighting. It makes it near impossible to do invasive surgeries or childbirth without causing some damage to the patient.

Thirdly, vaccines and medications cannot be properly stored. Vaccines that protect against preventable diseases often lose their effectiveness when not able to be refrigerated properly. This causes more poverty as the population just becomes sicker and sicker, when it could be avoided.

The next problem is that small healthcare facilities can’t communicate with specialists or get patient transportation to other facilities in case of an emergency. By not being able to communicate effectively with other hospitals, it makes harder to save patients and get them the best treatment available.

Fifth is that health facilities don’t have enough energy to power laboratory equipment. There isn’t enough energy to power ultrasound machines, x-ray machines, nor incubators.  This way it makes it more difficult to help prevent emergencies before they occur and to help newborn babies survive.

Lastly, poor power for lighting, cooking and heating leads to use of indoor flames and kerosene lamps. The fumes are toxic and cause more harm than good.  It is estimated that this will cause more deaths than malaria and HIV/AIDs combined.

The good news is we can help change this. In order to learn more or make a difference please click one of the links so we can work together to help save lives. 

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