Saving mothers and babies with reliable solar power
In Uganda, each year an estimated 6,000 women and 35,000 infants die from childbirth related complications. Access to skilled health care and appropriate technologies can save many lives. But in many countries, the difference between life and death for is dependent upon reliable light and electricity. Without that, health workers cannot provide life-saving care. Midwives struggle to deliver babies by candlelight, life-saving procedures are attempted by flashlight, and patients suffer delays in care or are turned away from health centers unable to function in darkness. Our solution is simple. The new and innovative WE CARE Solar Suitcase is a simple, user-friendly technology that provides a sustainable source of power, allowing health workers to provide life-saving interventions 24 hours a day. The Solar Suitcase makes solar-power accessible, affordable, and useful in developing rural communities. This program ensures Solar Suitcases for 200 health centers and additionally provides an innovative package of interventions to improve service delivery, including a fetal Doppler to detect fetal well-being, phone charging to enhance patient referrals, and a computer to for data entry in the electronic Health Management Information system. By building on the Solar Suitcase to provide this innovative package of interventions, we will meet all three aspects of the challenge: a technological innovation to improve the capacity of health centers enabling better service delivery, ultimately leading to more demand, saving the lives of mothers and children at birth.