Solar suitcase supplies electricity to developing-world hospitals
After witnessing women in desperate conditions delivering babies in African hospitals, Dr. Laura Stachel knew she needed to help. She and Hal Aronson have designed a solar kit that is portable and permanent and can provide electricity during labor and birth.
Patient Entry Ipad
And it ignores that a lot of deliveries are done in the home, not hospitals or clinics.
This is another "big sophisticated expensive green answer" to a problem that could better be solved by intermediate technology.
We did heat our water with solar panels (low tech) however. They could be made with local materials.
You can believe it
Patient Entry Ipad
Sumi Das: Imagine giving birth in complete darkness, that's the reality for millions of pregnant women in the developing world. Dr. Laura Stachel: I watched c-sections where the lights would go out and the doctors would finish by the beam of my own flashlight. Sumi Das: Laura Stachel is a former obstetrician and Executive Director of We Care Solar. After witnessing firsthand, women in desperate conditions delivering babies in African hospitals without basic electricity, she knew she needed to help. Dr. Laura Stachel: I saw more complications in the hospital than I'd seen in entire career as an obstetrician in the United States. There was very minimal equipment and the infrastructure was severely lacking as well. Sumi Das: Her idea: To develop a solar kit that can be portable or set up permanently and provide electricity for the necessary conditions of labor and childbirth. She calls it the solar suitcase. Dr. Laura Stachel: We consider it an entry level solar electric system. Sumi Das: She developed the kit at UC Berkeley's Blum Center for Developing Economies with her husband, Hal Aronson, a solar educator. Hal Aronson: This is one that's mounted to a wall, it can also be just laid on the floor or, or a table and it has solar panels in it, which you take outside to put in the sun. It has a battery to store energy so you can lights through the night. To turn on the system, push this main switch and the system is up and running. You turn on these switches that turn on lights and then if you want to charge batteries, such as these tripe a batteries in order to power headlamps, you plug this into this port here. This is designed to be a platform for a range of low powered medical devices. Right here, we have a fetal Doppler and this little device is designed to listen to a baby's heart rate while it's still in the mother's tummy. Sumi Das: Since developing the solar suitcase, Dr. Stachel has put it in more than 17 countries and she says, the need is growing every day, including a request from the Ministry of Health in Sierra Leone for 120,000 kits to use in the nation's health centers. And disaster relief agencies also believe it would be beneficial to their emergency operations. Yet with a $1500 price tag for each kit, challenges remain for this tiny nonprofit, most notably, raising funds to scale the product. For Dr. Stachel, it's all about improving healthcare for women around the world. Dr. Laura Stachel: I think it's really important that we apply all of our technology and resources to people who are most in need and so I would like to see solar suitcases or things like them distributed around the world and I'd like everybody to have access to a sustainable source of energy. Sumi Das: For Smart Planet, I'm Sumi Das.