Powering Health

Speeches Shim

Health-care clinician in Haiti
Health-care clinician in Haiti

Health-care facilities require electricity to maintain perishable supplies and power life-saving technologies. Energy is essential for preventing child and maternal deaths, controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and combating infectious diseases and pandemics.

Reliable electricity can mean life or death for patients in developing country health-care facilities. A review of 13 health surveys conducted across sub-Saharan Africa estimates that 26 percent of health-care facilities have no access to electricity and only 28 percent of health-care facilities have access to reliable electricity. USAID supports partner countries in understanding the energy needs of their health-care facilities over the long term. This challenge requires local capacity for careful planning, a commitment to maintenance, and dedicated funding.

USAID uses its experience at the nexus of the health and energy sectors to help international development practitioners and health-care administrators design programs that meet the energy needs of health facilities. By applying international best practices and lessons learned, stakeholders can help ensure that health-care facilities are able to power standard appliances, such as lights, life-saving equipment, blood and medicine refrigerators, ventilators, laboratory diagnostic tools, and technology that monitors patients’ vital signs.

This toolkit provides a five-step approach to health-care facility electrification, reference material regarding technical equipment, and tools, examples, and standards to use throughout the process.

Steps to Powering Health

  • Step 1

    Analyze Energy Demand and Supply

    Before investing in any energy technologies, a health facility must first understand its current day-to-day energy requirements. An initial energy audit is critical to ensuring proper system design and operation. Learn more

  • Step 2

    Account for Change

    Energy audits assess current needs, but loads increase over time. Accounting for change is more cost effective during the initial system design. Learn more

  • Step 3

    Investigate Electrification Options

    Health facilities can secure power from a local service provider or generate it themselves. Both choices have benefits and drawbacks to consider. Learn more

  • Step 4

    Design, Procure, and Install the Energy System

    Facility owners who want to hire professionals to design and construct energy systems should know how to create a bid document and avoid common design and procurement problems. Learn more

  • Step 5

    Make Investments Sustainable

    The sustainability of on-site technologies at health facilities requires proper operation, maintenance, and energy management, which can only be achieved with proper institutional support structures, funding, and training. Learn more

Technical Equipment

  • Technical Equipment

    Energy System Components

    Solar energy systems that power health clinics include multiple components that health clinic operators need to understand. Learn more

  • Technical Equipment

    Health System Loads

    Loads that are found in health facilities, like lighting and refrigeration, are common to other customers, but health facilities require reliable power to ensure the safety of their patients. Learn more


  • Resources


    Tools allow users to easily perform complex or repetitive calculations associated with the energy system design process. Learn more

  • Resources

    Health Facility Load Calculation Examples

    An off-grid health facility’s load calculations vary depending on its size, which is determined by the number of patient beds and health services provided. Learn more

  • Resources

    Technical Standards

    Proper specifications using international standards allow each energy system to be tailored to meet the needs of the facility while ensuring that design best practices and installation protocols are followed. Learn more