U.S.-based group installs 435 solar suitcases
non-profit organization called We Care Solar, based in California, USA says it has installed 435 Solar Suitcases in 430 health facilities across Liberia.
The organization working in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MOH) here is dedicated to improving maternal health care in health facilities through access to renewable energy.
We Care Solar Global Program Officer Kim Gordon presented the evaluation study result of the organization at a one-day conference held at the Paynesville City Hall outside Monrovia on 18 July.
During the presentation, Mr. Gordon said 518 health facilities were assessed and it was found that 430 were in need of reliable electricity, following which 435 solar suitcases were installed in 430 health facilities.
According to him, 44 installers were trained; 2,203 health workers trained; and 220,000 mothers and newborns served in health facilities using Solar Suitcases.
He discloses that since 2010, the organization has designed technology and developed programs to bring compact rugged solar electric systems-Solar Suitcases-to under-resourced health centers.
To date, Mr. Gordon reveals that more than 3,800 health centers globally have been equipped with this technology, replacing candles and kerosene lanterns with bright, efficient LED lights which provide electricity for photo charging, fetal monitoring and small medical devices which enable health workers to promote life-saving care.
He notes that the organization had a special interest in supporting Liberia conduct a plot solar suitcases program in Bong and Lofa counties in 2011, in partnership with Liberian Institute of Biomedical Research and the Light Every Birth initiative.
Mr. Gordon discloses that funding came from UN DESA, UBS Optimus Foundation, Gilead Foundation, Music for Relief, Meadow Fund, and other generous donors.
According to him, assessment of health facility electricity needs was conducted by the Family Health Division of the Ministry of Health, County Health Teams and We Care Solar.
In order to qualify for solar suitcase development, he says the health facility must offer delivery services by a skilled trained professional, have unreliable electricity and lighting, and be a building suitcase for installation, among others.
Liberia’s Minister of Health Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah expressed gratitude to We Care Solar for helping to save the lives of newborns in health facilities across the country.
She assured the organization of government’s continued commitment to collaborating with it in achieving the goal of providing solar suitcase to every health facility in Liberia.By Emmanuel Mondaye—Edited by Winston W. Parley