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 'Solar suitcase' is saving mothers and newborns

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rachel
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PostSubject: 'Solar suitcase' is saving mothers and newborns   Fri May 03, 2013 8:49 pm

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Unreliable electricity in 3rd world countries puts the lives of mothers and babies at risk during delivery. An obstetrician who experienced this problem while on a research trip in Africa and her husband have been working on ways to deal with it.
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With the help of Hal Aronson, her husband and a solar energy educator, [Dr. Laura] Stachel worked to find a solution. He drew up designs for a solar electric system to provide a free source of power to the state hospital in northern Nigeria where Stachel had conducted her research.

While they raised funds for the project, Stachel returned to Nigeria with a small kit to help show what the system would be able to do: It had a couple of solar panels inside, some lights and walkie-talkies to improve communication.

The kit was only meant for demonstration purposes -- a miniature model of the larger system. But the surgical technicians saw it as something else.

"They said: "This is incredible. You have to leave this with us. ... This could help us save lives right now,' " Stachel said.

She did just that, and news of the kit soon spread to other clinics. So each time Stachel would return to Africa, she came with one or two new "solar suitcases" assembled by her husband.

Today, the solar suitcase includes two solar panels that are mounted on a clinic's roof and connected to high-quality LED lights. Once fully charged, it can provide light for up to 20 hours. The kit also contains headlamps, a fetal Doppler to monitor a baby's heart rate and a cell phone charging unit.
The suitcases aren't the only things they're working on.
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For Stachel, the solar suitcase is only part of a bigger mission to improve maternal health care and lower mortality rates in developing countries.
For example:
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In 2009, We Care Solar completed the solar electric installation that her husband originally designed for the state hospital. Over the next year, the hospital reported that the death rate for women had decreased 70%. Nurses told Stachel they could see what they were doing, they didn't have to turn women away, and they had blood for transfusions because the electricity provided power for a blood bank refrigerator.
Read the whole thing if you want something to feel happy about.
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Sunatic

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Join date : 2010-07-04
Age : 32
Location : Jyväskylä, Finland

PostSubject: Re: 'Solar suitcase' is saving mothers and newborns   Sat May 04, 2013 3:29 am

News like this are one the main reasons I subscribe to a science magazine. Everyday newspapers tend to tell only bad news, giving the impression that the world isn't improving at all anywhere. But human rights blogs and science news are full of human kindness and genius saving more and more lives.
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Chris91
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Join date : 2009-06-13
Age : 50
Location : Salem, Mass., USA

PostSubject: Re: 'Solar suitcase' is saving mothers and newborns   Sat May 04, 2013 7:48 am

Two questions:

1)Does the article happen to mention where these kits are manufactured?

2)Is it too late to forward the inventor's name to the Nobel Prize nomination committee? If ever an invention deserved a Nobel Prize, this is it. Smile
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