A Generous Donation Brings Light to 6 Rural Clinics
This past summer five students from the University of Pennsylvania traveled to The Gambia to work at Sulaymun Junkung General Hospital on a number of projects for both Power Up Gambia and for the hospital itself. As always, hospital CEO Mr. Kebba Badgie made sure the students received a warm welcome, and the staff at the hospital quickly made them feel at home.
Volunteers Emma and Jemi took part in University of Pennsylvania’s International Internship program and worked on a number of projects at the hospital as Administrative Interns to Mr. Badgie. In addition, UPenn first year medical students Ben, Allison, and Alicia used SJGH as their base for installing 6 more solar suitcases in rural clinics and for continued data collection at the hospital and clinics as part of our Monitoring and Evaluation program.
Our Solar Suitcases project is now being coordinated through the Gambia Ministry of Health’s Regional Health Offices. Based on our past years’ experience with this project, we determined that working with the regional health offices was the best way to receive accurate information as to which clinics should be prioritized for solar power systems. This collaboration paid off with the regional health officers assisting our volunteers in identifying the clinics, transported in the suitcases out to those clinics and making sure they were placed properly.
To keep the solar suitcases in working and in good condition, SJGH’s electrician Saikou Gibba will work part-time as our solar technician for this project. Saikou has helped us install all of our solar suitcases and has trained clinic staff on how to run the suitcases properly and. Saikou will also be helping to collect monitoring information and maintaining the systems if there are any problems.
The rural clinics nurses and midwives are delighted with what these small solar suitcases can provide. As Saikou wrote in a recent email to our Director about one remote rural clinic and its attending nurse
“Lynn, it was so terrible to see the way this man work at night without light and he is alone. Now (that he has lights and cell phone charging with the solar suitcase) everyday he call me to show his happiness and to give thanks …..”
The 6 suitcases this summer were donated by a generous couple who learned of our program in The Gambia through We Care Solar. Thanks to their kind support, 6 more clinics have the lights, battery charging and fetal heart monitors they need to provide quality care for the farming families of The Gambia.
It is due to the generosity of individual donors and and the hard work of student volunteers and interns that that we have been able to run this small clinic solar suitcase program and have been able to “power up” 13 clinics now in The Gambia. We hope to have solar suitcases and small scale solar kits placed in the remaining small rural clinics that need them in the Gambia over the next three years .
Consider supporting our efforts! A donation of $2500 can “power up” a small clinic. You, your school, or your church can sponsor a solar suitcase for a clinic and know that the light you provide has the potential to save lives and reduce suffering in some of the poorest regions of The Gambia.