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Rahul Srinivasan: Electrifying Health Facilities Across the Developing World

Rahul Srinivasan: Electrifying Health Facilities Across the Developing World

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Spiffy here with the scoop on the changemaking leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Rahul Srinivasan, the senior energy specialist of Sustainable Energy for ALL. Let’s learn what’s happening there and how Rahul is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Rahul! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through Sustainable Energy for ALL?

Rahul: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! As a part of an international organization with close links to the United Nations, we work with governments and various development partners to provide solutions and resources to support reliable, sustainable, and climate-friendly electrification of health facilities across the developing world. Electricity is critical to power many life-saving medical devices and equipment as well as to store medicines and vaccines. Since many developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, face an acute deficit of energy in their health facilities, addressing this pressing challenge can help save lives, improve maternal care and infant delivery, and enhance the overall quality of lives in these countries.

Spiffy: That sounds wonderful! What motivates you to tackle this challenge?

Rahul: In the 21st century, it is unacceptable that health facilities in many developing countries have either unreliable or no access to electricity. This could be the difference between life and death and is a key factor in the safe delivery of a child. I shudder at the thought that lives could be lost because there is no reliable electricity to treat a patient or provide the necessary vaccine/medicine. I am equally shocked to share that, even today, many mothers are forced to deliver their children under torch light or candlelight because of no electricity at their health facility. I am an optimist and continue to be motivated to improve the health and lives of people in developing countries.

Spiffy: Those are powerful motivations—thank you for sharing. What would you say is the impact of your work?

Rahul: Our work helps governments in developing countries, partners such as the United Nations, and ultimately the common man/woman who can benefit from better health infrastructure and services. Amongst various activities, we provide technical assistance and strategic advisory to governments and their partners in developing countries to support ongoing and planned large-scale programs/investments in reliable, sustainable, and climate-friendly electrification of health facilities. We also develop and disseminate new ideas and solutions related to delivery models for electrifying health facilities as well as policy and planning to help developing countries address their energy-health-climate (SDG 7, 3, 13) challenges.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience or community?

Rahul: In early March 2023, we launched our Market Assessment and Roadmap for Electrifying Health Infrastructure in Sierra Leone, presenting it to key government and other stakeholders during a roundtable meeting held in Freetown, the country's capital. SEforALL created a forward-looking roadmap with short-term actionable recommendations for the government, development partners, and the private sector to overcome barriers that are impeding the accelerated deployment of sustainable energy solutions in health facilities in Sierra Leone.  This work is expected to inform investments and implementation related to powering healthcare in the country.

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Rahul: You can refer to this website to learn more about our program. Please listen to this podcast to learn more about our work. You can also follow Sustainable Energy for ALL on social media, including on Twitter (@SEforALLorg), Instagram (@seforall), and TikTok (@sustainableenergyforall). 

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Rahul—it’s been an honor!

Rahul Srinivasan is a senior professional working at the intersection of energy, health, and climate—driving the deployment of sustainable energy in health infrastructure in developing countries across the world. Prior to joining SEforALL, Rahul worked at the World Bank and graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. (First published on the Ladderworks website on May 30, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.