An effective response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa will depend in part on access to reliable, affordable energy, a senior United Nations official told SciDevNet last week.
“It’s such a complex emergency that there’s not only one priority, there are several,” said UN-Energy Chair Kandeh Yumkella, Undersecretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All. But with a massive effort under way to organize Ebola testing and treatment centres, “each of those centres needs an energy service,” and right now, that service will be provided by diesel.
Preliminary studies in both Liberia and Sierra Leone showed “a correlation between high maternal mortality and the lack of energy, lack of sanitation, and hemorrhaging,” Yumkella said. “If you don’t have energy, you can’t keep the blood refrigerated. If you don’t have enough energy, you can’t do the heating to sanitize equipment. So you can see that indirect correlation between energy and, perhaps, preventing the spread of Ebola.”