The GreenLamp Solar Suitcase Project

The GreenLamp Solar Suitcase Project

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The GreenLamp Solar Suitcase Project

 

The GreenLamp Solar Suitcase Project

It is truly astonishing how a relatively simple, compact piece of technology can make a huge difference to the lives of ordinary people.

This is, literally, the case with the GreenLamp Solar Suitcase project. The GreenLamp Charity and action group is based here in Zurich and operates for the benefit of women in rural areas of Ethiopia.

The problem and the premise are simple: many women give birth during the night; in developed countries, with well-equipped maternity infrastructure and sufficient trained staff, this is generally problem-free, thank goodness. In developing countries, on the other hand, problems with even straightforward births can be complicated by one simple factor: lack of light.

Such is the case in Ethiopia, where midwives working in remote health centres struggle to aid births in the dark by using, often, the light of their mobile phones.

More difficult births in rural areas, when the mother is faced with complications, can lead to a life of health problems to follow.

We find this situation hard to imagine, but the GreenLamp organization has found a solution with their Solar Suitcase. This is, literally, a medium sized, bright yellow suitcase, containing two medical medical surgical lights, a foetal monitor, phone chargers and a head torch. The suitcase is set up in the rural medical centre and the whole thing is charged during the daytime with a solar panel erected on the roof.

This piece of technology is constantly available to provide the light to help with births. However, it also encourages women to seek pre-natal checks, when the foetal monitor helps them to hear the baby’s heartbeat, a source of much joy, and to continue with post-natal checks, which significantly reduces the chance of infant mortality. The current rate for infant mortality stands at 47 deaths per 1000 live births per year in Ethiopia, whereas in Switzerland the figure is 3.9. The figures speak for themselves.

As at October 2015 and over the previous 18 months in medical centres provided with the Solar Suitcase, there has been an increase in 65% of safe deliveries, a 200% increase in pre-natal visits, a 70% increase in post-natal checks and 80% more women coming for planned parenthood advice. Pretty impressive for a yellow suitcase containing the means to make light.

GreenLamp does not stop there. Obviously, the provision of trained midwives is also vital, and GreenLamp sponsors young women to study at the Hamlin College of Midwives to qualify with a Bachelor Degree in Midwifery. The first Greenlamp sponsored student graduated in 2014.

What does it cost? A Solar Suitcase costs US $ 2,600 and a year’s sponsorship of a student midwife costs US$ 4,000 per annum. Modest figures to enable life to be brought safely into the world.

If you would like to help, here are the contacts:

GreenLamp

Tel: 079 638 45 59

Address: Langackerstrasse 139, 8704 Herrliberg

GreenLamp Website

Article written by Clive Greaves

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