Our programs empower health workers and improve their capacity to manage deliveries. Health workers consistently report improved morale and confidence after installation of the Solar Suitcase. They are better able to do their job, respond to emergencies when they occur, and refer only when necessary. The Solar Suitcase enables a sanitary and safe environment. Health workers can also reliably call for ambulances, use their phones to call doctors or patients, screen for fever, and monitor fetal heart rate using the fetal Doppler.
Our programs support health workers’ timely response to obstetric emergencies. With the Solar Suitcase, health workers can better manage emergencies. They can detect breech presentations, manage obstetric hemorrhage and retained placentas, properly repair lacerations, and conduct neonatal resuscitation at night. Health workers are also able to handle emergencies throughout the night and not postpone essential procedures until morning when they have natural light.
“A mother came in very early in the morning, at about 5am. She had already delivered at home, but had continuous bleeding so she came to the facility. She had a retained placenta. The Solar [Suitcase] light helped me remove the retained placenta and save the mother. Before the Solar [Suitcase], the light from the cellphone would not be enough to take care of this woman. If I was to wait until morning she would die from too much bleeding.” – Nurse, Tanzania
Our programs improve appropriate referrals, due to having light to better examine a patient, a charged phone to call for a referral, and using the fetal Doppler to confirm a high-risk case. Health workers no longer refer patients unnecessarily simply due to a lack of light.
Our programs incentivize women to deliver at the facility and often increase utilization of services. Because lighting improves health workers’ ability to do their jobs and reduces the cost for mothers to deliver at the facility, many health workers report an increase in the number of deliveries since installation of the Solar Suitcase. We have seen anywhere from a 5-30% increase in the number of deliveries and antenatal care visits after Solar Suitcase installation.
Our Solar Suitcase programs, as part of a larger set of interventions, can contribute to a reduction in maternal mortality and morbidity. We Care Solar maximizes our impact by working with organizations that focus on improving maternal and newborn outcomes. Our Solar Suitcase programs complement the work these organizations are doing to improve maternal and newborn outcomes, and when healthcare facilities throughout a district receive reliable light as part of a comprehensive approach to strengthening maternal-newborn care, the positive impact is substantial.