Solar energy could help combat antimicrobial resistance

5/14/18
Thomson Reuters Foundation

This need for reliable energy is essential to improve health care and tackle the global concerns about antimicrobial resistance

As Nepal commemorates the third anniversary of the two devastating earthquakes, our country still struggles to bounce back. While there is much that remains to be addressed—from rebuilding to restoring basic services— the lack of reliable electricity is causing many hardships. This includes threatening the prevention and treatment of an increasing number of drug-resistant infections known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Today one in four Nepalese lack access to electricity—with those living in rural areas having far less access. The capital, Kathmandu, itself faces major energy issues and there are monthly schedules that, at the worst point, say which four-hour windows each day will have electricity.

The lack of access to a steady supply of electricity poses grave challenges for hospitals in cities as well as health clinics in rural areas. Imagine not being able to sterilize medical tools, or performing surgeries and delivering babies by candlelight. These serious lapses in hygiene and health care have led to increased numbers of infections from bacteria that cause disease and no longer respond to most available antibiotics.

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