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2018: We Care Solar

The Dilemma

Co-founder Dr. Laura Stachel went to Northern Nigeria in 2008 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.

Laura wrote to her husband, Hal Aronson, a solar energy educator back in Berkeley, California. Together, Laura and Hal co-founded We Care Solar to improve maternal health outcomes in regions without reliable electricity. Hal designed an off-grid solar electric system, the We Care Solar Suitcase, for the hospital Laura was studying, targeting the maternity ward, labor room, laboratory and operating theatre. 

The we care solar suitcase

The We Care Solar Suitcase provides health facilities in areas without reliable electricity with highly efficient solar energy systems to power medical lighting, mobile communication and essential medical devices and can be used in a range of medical and humanitarian settings. For clinic installations, the yellow case becomes a cabinet that mounts to the wall, and the panels are secured to the roof. The system includes high-efficiency LED medical task lighting, a universal cell phone charger, a battery charger for AAA or AA batteries, and outlets for 12V DC devices. The basic system comes with 40 or 80 watts of solar panels, and a 12 amp-hour lithium ferrous phosphate battery. The maternal health kit includes a fetal doppler with rechargeable batteries.

WHAT WE CAN DO

We can change outcomes for mothers and newborns by making childbirth safer. Together we can help light maternal clinics with We Care Solar Suitcases and train healthcare workers on their installation, use and maintenance. Make a donation in honor of your mother, sister, aunt or friend and a personalized Mother's Day card will be sent telling her of your generosity. 

Photo credit: Liz Hale