With the funds from GlobalGiving and other funding sources, We Care Solar installed 17 suitcases in hospitals and clinics in Kano and Kaduna states in Northern Nigeria. Each hospital delivers hundreds of patients every year. The suitcase provides a reliable source of light and power for emergency mobile communication. Health workers were excited to receive the solar suitcases and recounted how this could save lives.
“With a torchlight [flashlight], I can only see one patient at a time,” one midwife lamented after describing an incident in which a mother hemorrhaged in the same room in which she cared for a newborn. Without lighting for the whole room, she hadn’t recognized what was happening. “I would have looked for the source of bleeding, arranged for a blood transfusion…she didn’t have to die.”
“Now we will never need to refer patients out of the hospital,” exclaimed a happy midwife. She also recounted a tragic story. A few days before our arrival, she cared for a patient who needed a c/section. The surgical team had been available and the operating room was stocked with supplies. But the public power supply was down, the generator was without fuel, and it was 8pm – too dark to operate. The midwife was forced to prepare the patient for a transfer to another hospital, 40 kilometers away. En route to the hospital, the patient died.
These two midwives were among those who now have a Solar Suitcase providing light for labor rooms and operating theatres. “We will never refer patients out of the hospital for c/sections,” exclaimed one midwife with excitement. “Now I won’t have to work by candlelight,” another midwife told us with relief. “Now I am not afraid to work at night,” commented a third. With a solar suitcase, they can easily call for help, promptly identify complications, and provide appropriate treatment. The Solar Suitcase provides hope for these health workers, and a chance to provide better care. For mothers and newborns, the solar suitcase offers a better chance of survival.
Our team in Nigeria plans to install an additional 21 suitcases over the next year. This will provide reliable light and power to a total of 27 clinics and hospitals. In these clinics and hospitals there are close to 1600 births a month.
Thank you for your support and joining our movement to light up care in maternal health clinics. With additional funding we plan to expand to serve mothers and their infants in Sierra Leone and Haiti.
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