Infoscience

Book Chapter

Holistic Approach to Sufficient, Reliable and Efficient Electricity Supply in Hospitals of Developing Countries: Cameroon Case Study

While health technology has shown constant improvements in industrialized countries, developing countries have not been able to take full advantage of this evolution, partly because of unstable power supplies. According to a World Health Organization study, grid failures are responsible for one-third of medical device breakdowns. Therefore, the global slogan “Health for All in the Third Millennium” requires a reliable and sustainable electricity supply in hospitals. This paper presents a power backup and electricity stabilization system that takes into account the technical constraints, as well as the socio-economic factors, impacting the electricity supply in Cameroonian hospitals. The implementation of technological solutions has to be adapted to the socio-institutional context of the hospital. Preliminary sociological studies highlight the impact of organizational culture, hierarchy, and professional education on the way that technical equipment is installed and, maintained, as well as the way that supply failures are addressed. From an economic perspective, technical weaknesses imply higher energy costs and lower revenues. Preliminary studies suggest that the costs incurred in the installation and maintenance of a stable electric system can partly be compensated through energy saving and additional medical treatments resulting from the increased availability of medical devices. The Problem Tree Analysis Method (PTAM) used in this paper allows the identification of interactions between technical and socio-economic factors leading to electricity breakdown and, hence, to the development of more holistic solutions for the supply of electricity to hospitals. Because of its multi-dimensional nature, this project actively involves scholars from the North and South who are specialized in engineering, social and political sciences, and management.

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