The Gambia has over 60 remote, rural government health clinics to meet the needs of their farming communities. While these clinics include nurses and midwifes, most clinics do not have access to reliable electricity. At night, the clinic staff are almost helpless; with no lights, no way to charge a cell phone and call for transport, no way to check on a laboring mothers progress. When nighttime emergencies strike, there is very little nurses can do.
Because Power Up Gambia is working with the Gambia Ministry of Health and We Care Solar, small solar power kits are able to be placed in these clinics. Durable, portable, inexpensive, easy to install and maintenance free, these Solar Suitcases allow the clinic staff to have bright lights at night, cell phone charging during the day, and a fetal heart monitor to keep an eye on the health of babies during labor. Thanks to solar power, the staff is no longer helpless in the face of nighttime emergencies.
We continue to team up with private individuals, Rotary clubs, civic groups, churches and student groups to install Solar Suitcases in clinics around The Gambia. But that is about to change in a big way. Now, there are 58 solar suitcases installed!
The We Care Solar Suitcase was specifically chosen for its simplicity and durability. The user friendly units come with simple instructions and require no maintenance beyond the occasional cleaning of panels. Their simple composition of high quality parts guarantees standardized off-grid solar and battery power capable of standing up to the heavy demands of the clinics.By having a standard design, Power Up Gambia can keep spare parts on hand and train Gambian technicians to do most of the necessary repairs.
With 58 solar suitcases installed in clinics in and around The Gambia, there are specific actions that are going to be taking place. By continuing to work with the Ministry of Health, a status report will be conducted to gain insight of how the suitcases are performing in the clinics. Regarding maintenance, batteries are in need of a replacement, some are over five years old.
The implications of widespread access to Solar Suitcases is monumental. Midwives will be able to see when delivering babies during the night. Doctors and nurses will be able to monitor fetuses in utero. When an emergency referral to a hospital is needed, the nurses have the ability to call for help. For clinics that have never had access to electricity, these suitcases are a complete game changer– and literal life saver.