Switching to Solar Power can mean improved healthcare for Rural India

As the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, across the world, affecting more and more patients worldwide, leaving them in a desperate need to seek medical attention, our main focus of attention for the past few months has been the healthcare system. India saw the largest increase in cases on 4th May, and with the need to hospitalize more and more patients, in Covid-19 containment centers and hospitals, what has come to our attention is the crumbling healthcare system that’s prevalent in the country and especially the shocking state of affairs in rural India, where a government hospital with a maximum of 100 beds is all a town has, to rely on.

As we’ve realized such a healthcare module is far beyond inadequate, and it has lead research experts and leaders from renewable energy sector, to concentrate on the vulnerable state of healthcare in rural India. Such weak infrastructure in the healthcare sector in rural India can expose millions to fatal futures, without even getting the chance of adequate medical attention or clinical treatment. The renewable energy experts after discussing and debating believe solar energy can play a huge role in helping this sector of the Indian population, by solarizing all the un-electrified villages in India.

There are numerous systematic gaps existent which directly affect the poor population of the country, and the pandemic has just brought these gaps to our attention. More than 39000 sub-centers, responsible for serving as the primary link between the villages and the primary healthcare bodies for 230 million, do not have access to electricity. Hence, this directly interrupts their ability to give optimal and adequate medical help to the people. The meeting of 20 leaders from the solar industry forwarded a letter to the Prime Minister, highlighting the key concerns, and recommended suggestions to combat the present outbreak as well as take precautionary measures for providing better healthcare in the future.

The key solution can come in the form of decentralized renewable energy (DRE). It would not only be an affordable choice considering every individual needs to expend 30INR to avail its services, but also it would spell quick results. The letter suggests 4 interventions the government can take up to alleviate the situation:

  • The programme should be expanded, to include clinics, to be solarized. Chhattisgarh’s successful execution shows that it can be very well implemented.
  • The government has to dedicatedly allocate funds to this venture. It only demands a mere 0.6 percent of the budget allocated to the energy and healthcare budget of 2021.
  • Existing structures must provide for sustainable modules to work that are beneficial for communities long-term.
  • Financing research and innovation, so that, more energy efficient and financially viable medical equipment can be made for mass production, and used, especially in rural areas, where the multi-specialty hospital facilities are limited.

The leaders from this summit are sure that shifting to solar power, especially when India enjoys so many bright sunny days to harvest solar energy from, can help alleviate the condition of rural healthcare in India. This transition can mean improved healthcare, efficient infrastructure and sustainable healthcare solutions that have long-term dividends and benefits for one and all!

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