Maternal Monday | Solar Suitcases

Solar suitcases equiped for the ability to give needed power in health facilities.
Solar suitcases equiped for the ability to give needed power in health facilities.
Midwife in Kpalbe, Northern Region of Ghana, demonstrates using flashlight in her mouth.
Midwife in Kpalbe, Northern Region of Ghana, demonstrates holding the flashlight in her mouth.

When I worked in Ghana as a Host & Reporter on The Maternal Health Channel Television Series, there were several stories that I found quite profound and really stuck with me.  One of the most common were stories that related to the lack of consistent electricity and how it affects the ability to care for patients.  When we visited a clinic in Kpalbe, in the northern region of Ghana, the midwife there explained that when women had to deliver in the middle of the night she would often use a flash-light to assist in the process.  Although it was afternoon when the crew and I were there, she showed us (pictured above) how she would hold the flash-light in her mouth while helping a woman who is in labour.  This technique would keep her hands free to do what was necessary to deliver the baby.  (This photo was snapped using my old Blackberry cell phone so the image may not be so clear.)  This was just one of many stories like this.  One doctor in another city told the story of what happened when he was in the middle of a caesarian operation when the electricity cut off.  It was 2 a.m.  and the generator didn’t switch on as expected.  A nurse tried to find a flash-light in the operating room while another ran to see why the generator wasn’t on.  Imagine the panic at a time like this.    Those scenarios often end in tragic circumstances and could be avoided with something as simple as electricity.

Solar suitcase comes with everything ready.
Solar suitcase comes with everything ready.

I’ve often talked about how utilizing the resource of the sun is an obvious option for Ghana and in many other countries around the world.  When I read about the Solar suitcase, I thought how something that seems so simple can actually make a big impact.  Each of these suitcases gives a medical professional the ability to have access to electricity at all times.  Not only that but, it also includes a fetal heart rate monitor and a universal cell phone charger outlet.  The other outlets inside have the ability to power medical devices, lights and computers.  This simple tool can make a world of difference in rural communities.  Imagine what a great gift something like this could be for the midwife I met in Kpalbe, Northern Ghana.

To learn more about the Solar suitcase and how you could donate to support the cause visit the website: http://wecaresolar.org/

References: http://wecaresolar.org/solutions/solar-suitcase/

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