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 In Field Updates, Stories

At the Mae Tao Clinic in Thailand, health care workers have an unusual class as part of their emergency obstetric training – they learn to use the solar suitcase! In preparation for their work caring for Burmese refugees in remote villages at the Thai-Burmese border, medics are taught about solar electricity and how to power lights, charge phones, and eventually maintain satellite communication with the help of the solar suitcase. The Border Green Energy Team (BGET) provided instruction to the class, teaching about energy load management and how to properly maintain the solar electric kits. Terry Smith, a family practice doctor from Northern California, is the catalyst behind this unique collaboration. He has singlehandedly brought five solar suitcases to the Thai-Burmese border over the last year after recognizing the need for reliable electricity in remote health facilities. These suitcases have facilitated night time deliveries and provide light for a range of medical procedures. We will hear more follow-up when Terry returns to Thailand in June 2011.