Convened by the World Health Organization, the World Bank Group, UNDP, and the UN Department of Economic & Social Affairs to ensure universal access to Clean Cooking and Health Care Facility electrification, Hon. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella (KKY) yesterday 9th June, 2021 moderated the high-level launch of the Coalition on Health and Energy Partnership for Action (HEPA).
Some 3 billion people are exposed to high levels of health-damaging pollutants each and every day due to the lack of access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking. Such chronic exposure to household air pollution is the cause of nearly 4 million deaths annually from non-communicable diseases (including heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer), as well as pneumonia.
At the same time, an estimated 1 billion people globally are served by health facilities with no access to electricity. Electricity is essential for the operation of life-saving and critically needed medical devices, such as for vaccine refrigeration and surgical-emergency, laboratory and diagnostic equipment, as well as for basic amenities such as lighting and clean water. In many cases, access to electricity can make the difference between life and death, as has been starkly highlighted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Using his native and Kychom constituency as a real example, Hon. Yumkella underscored the importance of energy access for people around the world, and for his country and his constituency and for socio-economic development.
Sierra Leone was represented at the high-level dialogue by Dr. Austin Demby, Minister of Health and Alhaji Kanja Sesay, Minister of Energy. Both noted the Sierra Leone Government’s effort to bring access to energy and good health care.
Other participants included Dr. TedrosGhebreyesus- DG of WHO, Achim Steiner – UNDP Administrator, Liu Zhenmin – UN DESA Under-Secretary-General, Commissioner Michelle Bachelet of UN -OHCHR, Francesco La Camera – DG IRENA among numerous others.