Light for life – Solar Suitcase project

GreenLamp’s second project is to supply and implement Solar Suitcases to rural health centers in Ethiopia. With solar power for medical and surgical lighting, cell phones and a fetal doppler, we can contribute to quality maternal care for women in Ethiopia. This is done in close cooperations with the Hamlin College of Midwives, the developer of the Solar Suitcases "We Care Solar", founded by Dr. Laura Stachel and the UBS Optimus Foundation.

During March, 2014 GreenLamp installed and implemented its first five Solar Suitcases in Health centers in rural areas in the Bahir Dar region in central Ethiopia. Our work continues. Today GreenLamp and its partners have roled-out over 20 Solar Suitcases in Ethiopia.

During 2014 GreenLamp will fund an additional 145 Solar Suitcases. These will be installed in five regions of Ethiopia between November 2014 and July 2015.

 

Midwife Kidest from Addis-Betakristien Health
Center, together with Brent from We Care Solar.
 

An overwhelming response

The response we received from the different health centers is overwhelming! Access to light at night is an important contribution to the potential reduction of mother and infant mortality and morbidity. The midwives used to perform deliveries by candle or kerosene light. Now pregnant women can come to the health center and be sure they can deliver their babies safely with reliable light.

The number of deliveries at the Health Centers are increasing. Figures from one Solar Suitcase installation at the Agita Health Center show that the midwives used to attend 25-26 deliveries per month. The first month after the Solar Suitcase was installed, they delivered 35 babies. The Ambessame Health Center has noticed a 32 percent increase in live births in only two months. An amazing increase! 

   

The Solar Suitcase 

In 2008 Dr Laura Stachel went to northern Nigeria to study ways to lower maternal mortality in state hospitals. She witnessed deplorable conditions in state facilities including sporadic electricity that impaired maternity and surgical care. Without a reliable source of electricity, nighttime deliveries were attended in near darkness, cesarean sections were cancelled or conducted by flashlight, and critically ill patients waited hours or days for life-saving procedures. The outcomes were often tragic.

The Solar Suitcase program was created as a response to improve maternal health outcomes in regions without reliable electricity. By equipping off-grid health centers with solar power for medical and surgical lighting, charging of cell phones and other medical devices. The impact light has in delivery rooms is significant, hence reducing maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, and improving the quality of care in Ethiopia. Today approximately 600 Solar Suitcases have been assembled and sent to 25 countries around the world. 

The system includes high-efficiency LED medical lighting, a universal cell phone charger, a battery charger and a feral doppler. The battery is charged by a roof solar panel, and will keep the LED lights lit for an entire night. 

If you are interested to learn more about the effects of the deployment of solar suitcases in rural health centers in Ethiopia. Learn more   

Please follow us on Facebook for latest news. Simultaneously and for a total of three years, an external monitoring and evaluation will be carried out to analyze the impact of the solar suitcase project.