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In regions with insufficient energy resources that prevent or hamper basic obstetric care, more than 350,000 women die each year from complications in childbirth and pregnancy and millions of infants are stillborn or die in the first days of life. In these regions state facilities suffer with sporadic electricity and nighttime deliveries are attended in near darkness, cesarean sections get canceled or are conducted by flashlight and critically ill patients wait hours or even days for life-saving procedures.
WE CARE Solar, a non profit company founded by obstetrician, Dr. Laura Stachel and her husband Hal Aronson, a solar energy educator, developed an off-grid solar electric system for the clinics and for the outlying areas a Solar Suitcase a portable, rugged, complete solar electric kit packed with solar panels, a charge controller, batteries, medical LED lights, phone chargers, headlamps, and a fetal monitor.Nighttime procedures are vastly improved allowing identification and treatment of lacerations and hemorrhage, administration of iv meds and the ability to perform needed c-sections around the clock. On-call doctors can be alerted and consulted with the solar-powered mobile phones and with augmentation, the solar suitcase can power blood bank refrigeration allowing life-saving transfusions to occur without delay.
On April 4th, the PBS NewsHour featured WE CARE Solar and you can watch interviews with co-founders Hal Aronson and Laura Stachel as well as other news videos here.
Once two Solar Suitcases were installed in a delivery room and operating theater, a midwife was elated:
We will never refer patients out of the hospital for c/sections. Now I won’t have to work by candlelight.We completely take light for granted yet it is painfully clear that much of the word considers light a luxury. As one operating nurse says:
You have given us the greatest gift possible and with this we will save many lives.