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chan_official_portraitDr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, lauded We Care Solar as “sunshine saving lives” when she addressed the 2013 World Hospital Congress in Oslo, Norway.  Dr. Chan described how innovation and technology are game changers in the future of health. She spoke about the challenges facing health institutions in Africa, and described a beautiful hospital in Rwanda that uplifted quality health care and community spirit. She then cited the work of We Care Solar in bringing light and safety to off-grid health facilities.

“Another ingenious recent innovation addresses the fundamental need for energy. This is solar power in a small portable suitcase produced by a non-profit team in the USA. It was specifically designed to support emergency obstetric care in health facilities with no or unreliable electricity supplies.

Collecting energy from the sun, it provides highly efficient medical lighting, power to run computers and medical devices, like fetal monitors, and power to recharge batteries and cellphones. It can be adapted to power refrigerators, also for blood banks.

Maintenance is low. The design is robust, even in the harshest environments, and simple. A single switch turns the system on. The lighting system lasts for 70 000 hours. That means around 10 to 20 years.

First deployed in Nigeria in 2009, the solar suitcase is now in use in 24 countries. In some villages in Africa, it provides the first electricity, and the first electric lighting, ever seen by the community.

WHO worked with this non-profit organization, called We Care Solar, in Liberia and has seen first-hand the difference for maternal health that light and power can make. This is sunshine saving lives.”

The entire transcript can be found here.