Sustainable electricity for sustainable health? A case study in North-western Zambia
Keywords:renewable energy; sustainability; rural settings; non-communicable diseases, diabetes, well-being, communi-ty health, diet, clean energy
This study explores the under-researched link between clean energy and public health outcomes, and offers new insights into the link between wider access to clean energy and progress towards health outcomes, in particular the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes. This is the first study to consider the impact of a run-of-river hydropower plant (RORHP) in a remote rural community in Zambia in relation to health outcomes. Exploring this relationship establishes how the health benefits which renewable energy can bring can be capitalised upon to meet the health-related objectives of the United Nations sustainable development goals. Workshops and semi-structured interviews were conducted with a range of stakeholders including community members, health workers, business owners, and key people involved with the plant, to establish health and social impacts of the introduction of electricity in the community of Ikelenge. Findings are used to establish both synergies and trade-offs of the RORHP on the health of the community, and recommendations are made for the continued improvement of health following the introduction of the RORHP, to achieve further progress towards meeting SDG targets.
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