Launch of the ISA Cares Initiative by the International Solar Alliance (ISA)
The Health Innovation Exchange (HIEx) and UNAIDS are excited to announce and celebrate the launch of the ISA Cares Initiative at the 3rd International Solar Alliance (ISA) General Assembly (October 14th– 16th, 2020).
The International Solar Alliance launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015 is a unique intergovernmental organization focused on working for efficient consumption of solar energy to reduce global dependence on fossil fuels. ISA has made significant progress convening and is a critical alliance of 121 countries focused on leveraging solar energy in order to meet SDG targets.
With more than 1 billion people worldwide lacking access to health facilities with a reliable power supply, many health facilities are forced to run on expensive and polluting diesel-generators. Even when health facilities are connected to the grid or run on generators, these facilities are prone to frequent power outages. Nearly 70 percent of medical devices used in developing countries fail due to poor power quality and without access to scalable clean energy solutions most developing nations will not be able to reach SDG3 targets. In addition, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the critical nature of securing such essential energy-dependent services such as lighting, cold chain for vaccines and medicines, as well as laboratory work and ventilation. Ensuring clean, sustainable energy for healthcare solutions around the world is critical for our ability to prepare and response to pandemics and other healthcare challenges. Paralleling this sentiment, ISA has launched ISA Cares, an initiative focusing on the solarisation of healthcare facilities in member countries without reliable energy grids, in order to provide solar power that would enhance access to high quality essential health care services.
ISA Cares will provide innovative solar energy solutions for health in low- and middle-income countries through a blended financing model. Initiated by the Health Innovation Exchange in partnership with the ISA, ISA Cares will focus on building robust energy infrastructure to deliver essential healthcare services and enable the introduction of new technologies including digital tools for health. This initiative will improve health outcomes, strengthen healthcare capacity and improve pandemic preparedness. Taking a cross-sectoral approach to health, ISA Cares is designed to deliver positive impact across the SDGs by providing energy solutions for health and education and by creating economic opportunities, particularly for young women.
The ISA Cares initiative will invest in piloting and building the underlying power infrastructure that is critical for the future of healthcare delivery, especially in remote areas. This will enable the maintenance of reliable supply chains for medicines and diagnostics, better access to clean water and sanitation, provision of quality primary healthcare services as well as underlying energy infrastructure needed for implementation of new and improved technologies for health. “The ISA will aid and upgrade the existing essential healthcare services of Least Developed Countries (LDC) and Small-Island Developing States (SIDS) by solarisation of hospitals, pharmaceuticals units, laboratory facilities and any other necessary infrastructure such as research divisions” stated Upendra Tripathy, Director General of the ISA, in an interview earlier this year.
The HIEx has been partnering with ISA over the last year on bringing solar energy security for healthcare and welcomes the new opportunities presented by the development of the ISA Cares Initaitive to establish and scale up solar energy powered Primary Healthcare Centers (PHC) around the world. The HIEx is committed towards working with the ISA and our partners from around the world to provide funding for selected solar energy for health projects in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), through careful assessment of the needs of the local healthcare systems as well as individual health facilities and communities.