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Light Can Be the Difference between Life and Death


May 10, 2012 BY Sean Bartlett

 

When the electricity goes out, you know how quickly and easily your life is disrupted. You can’t watch television; your food could spoil in the refrigerator; you stumble in the darkness to find a flashlight or candles; the traffic lights might even be out of service in your neighborhood.

Now imagine you are giving birth to a child, or require emergency surgery or care, and the health clinic or hospital you’re in has no electricity. The backup generator will kick on, right?

For people seeking medical treatment at night in developing countries, the lights, of course, haven’t just gone out. They don’t exist.

Too many health care facilities don’t have access to reliable – or any – electricity. A recent estimate put the number as high as 58%. And the journey these individuals experienced to reach the facility was likely pitch black and therefore fraught with various dangers.

More than 1 billion people do not have access to electricity worldwide. This of course impedes human and economic development. But it’s a major health concern for patients and medical care providers too.

As top champions of UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, Grammy Award-winning band, Linkin Park and their Power the World campaign are teaming up with the nonprofit organization We Care Solar to shine light where it doesn’t exist. We Care has pioneered the distribution of the Solar Suitcase in a few different African countries – with amazing results. Read as Dr. Jacques Sebisaho describes his experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after setting up an emergency health camp to combat an outbreak of cholera:

“I knew that light would make a difference,” says Dr. Sebisaho, “but I had no idea the magnitude of that difference. We have lost so many lives in the past, not just mothers and babies, but patients with cholera and other illnesses, simply because we couldn’t see. But now this has changed. We are witnessing what light can do in a community, how it can save lives in places where night can mean death for those in need of emergency care.”

For the first time, none of the 122 patients suffering from the cholera died. That’s progress. That’s results. That’s life. All from a device as big as your backpack that harnesses the renewable and clean energy of the sun.

Targeting their work in Uganda, Linkin Park and We Care Solar know that this small innovation will deliver big change in often dire health settings.

Check out more about their partnership, take the Sustainable Energy for All pledge, and consider giving the gift of light on behalf of your Mom – that’s right, Mother’s Day is Sunday! – at www.powertheworld.org.

 

POSTED IN: Social Good, Campaigns & Initiatives, Get Involved, Smart Ideas

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