The World Health Organization (WHO) and over 20 leaders from governments and international organizations gathered for the 2nd Meeting of the High-Level Coalition on Health and Energy on October 7, 2022 and called for action to increase climate resilience of health-care facilities and increase indoor air quality through sustainable energy.
The Call to Action, focuses on 6 areas based on a Strategic Roadmap to promote healthier populations through clean and sustainable energy to address inequalities and health concerns caused by lack of access for clean cooking and electricity in health care facilities. The Call to Action includes the following key actions:
- Consider clean cooking and access to electricity in health-care facilities two development priorities essential to protect public health;
- Dramatically increase public and private investments in electrifying health-care facilities and in clean cooking;
- Provide the necessary human and financial resources to design and implement clean energy plans and sustainable delivery models tailored to the needs of health sector and households;
- Develop tailored policy and financing schemes, able to unlock the potential of clean and sustainable energy solutions and to address the health sector needs;
- Increase cooperation between the energy and health sectors and collaboration with all relevant stakeholders; and
- Facilitate collaboration between private, public, and non-governmental actors.
An estimated hundreds of millions of people are served by health facilities lacking electricity. This limits access to essential, lifesaving medical devices and dramatically hampers the quality, accessibility and reliability of health services delivered.
“It is unacceptable that such a large portion of the population is unable to access adequate health services due to lack of electricity,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health. “A person’s right to health should not be determined by where they were born, the right to universal health care is our global responsibility.”
Around one third of the global population still relies on polluting fuels to meet their basic daily energy needs for cooking. The resulting household air pollution leads to 3.2 million premature deaths each year from noncommunicable disease and pneumonia. Households that rely on polluting fuels for cooking risk creating an environment that puts often the most vulnerable communities at great risks. Cooking with polluting fuels is also the largest source of black carbon, making it responsible for around half of black carbon emissions globally.
Unfortunately, lack of access to clean fuels and technologies starts at home. Women and children are exposed to polluted air when dirty fuels are used for cooking, as they spend the most time at home, and suffer additional risk when they have to travel far from home to gather the wood needed to cook. Accelerating access to clean cooking will not only save millions of lives, it will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and therefore protect our planet. When accelerating access to clean cooking and electrifying health-care facilities, COP27 offers a great opportunity to move forward in mitigating climate change and building the resilience of health systems, protecting public health now and in the future, while saving millions of lives. The High-Level Coalition stands ready to work with all partners at COP27 and beyond to accelerate action to ensure a healthy, clean and safe future for all.
Videos of the High-Level Coalition on Health and Energy:
Videos of the Health and Energy Platform of Action: