Monday, January 23, 2012

Light is Vital in Saving Mothers during Labour

Mukalu Mohamed of Safe Mothers and Safe Babies explaining to health workers how the solar suit case works after its installation at Kyampisi Health Centre III 

By David Ssebuggwawo
WRA Uganda

“We have been buying Kerosene for the lamps which the midwives use to help us deliver babies in this health facility”. Betty disclosed. She shared this during the installation of a Solar Suit Case in the labour ward of Kyampisi Health Centre III by Safe Mothers Safe Babies in collaboration with White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda. Betty is one of the expectant mothers who had delivered two babies before in the same health centre.

“This is good for our community; we have been suffering buying kerosene lamps but thanks to Safe Mother Safe Babies for this offer. You have made our work easy and I think we shall be able to provide good services to all mothers during and after delivery” Said Christine, Clinical Officer and In-charge health centre.

Safe Mother Safe Babies is an international organization working to improve the working conditions of midwives and mothers during delivery through providing solar lighting systems to rural health facilities which are not connected to the national grid.

Jacqueline Cutts the President of Safe Mothers Safe Babies said that they first did a study in Uganda which showed that most of the health facilities in the country are found in rural area where there is no power to provide light during delivery. After getting the report Safe Mothers Safe Babies worked with an American company We Care Solar which developed a Solar Suit Case which can provide light to the labour ward making work easy for midwives and safe for mothers delivering babies during night.

Jacqueline Cutts instructing a health worker at Kyetume HC III on how to use the solar suit case
In collaboration with WRA Uganda, AMREF Uganda, UNICEF and other partners Safe Mothers Safe Babies has installed twenty six Solar Suit Cases in different health centres and hospitals like Jinja referral, Iganga, Kagadi, Bugiri, Kyampisi Health centre III, Kyetume Health Centre III among others.

The Solar Suit Case can provide light for the labour ward for ten hours if charged fully, charges cell phones (an advantage for the health workers) and it can charge the batteries which are used in the electronic stethoscope which helps to examine mothers. It has chargeable headlights which can be used during operations to support doctors.

Jacqueline said that it is a pilot project but if factors remain constant they intend to provide the Solar Suit Cases to all rural health facilities in Uganda.
White Ribbon for Safe Motherhood and AMREF had a meeting with Safe Mothers Safe Babies to discuss possible ways of scaling up the project. Ministry of Health blessed the project and they committed to give all necessary support because it is a complementary contribution to the realization of the ministry’s mandate.

Members of staff Kyetume HC III and Safe Mothers Safe Babies members pose for a group photo while displaying the solar suitcase with its accessories