Electricity isn’t just about powering fridges, TVs and smartphones. For many families in Africa, it can mean the difference between life or death.
Edith Jibunoh, a senior official at the World Bank, tells this story from her own childhood growing up in a power-starved region of Nigeria:
“I considered myself extremely lucky to be part of a family that could afford to have a back-up generator, which meant we could treat ourselves to television shows at night. No electricity did not seem like a big deal, until my cousin had a car accident.
He was bleeding and needed immediate surgery.
We went from hospital to hospital, but everywhere was pitch black. Finally, we found a clinic with a functioning generator. But we had to go find diesel fuel to power up the generator. His life was spared because we could afford to source fuel quickly.”
But not every story ends like this.
“Not long ago,” Edith continues, “I received news that an old friend had lost his wife because she had to have a C-section without electricity, in the dark.”
An estimated 1 billion people around the world depend on healthcare facilities that lack reliable power, meaning standard procedures like delivering a baby are fraught with danger and difficulty. Every day 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, according to the WHO. 99 percent of these cases occur in the developing world.
We are campaigning for reliable power for all. Because no-one should have to face a C-section in the dark.