As we have previously disclosed, this May a representative of Light for Life oversaw the installation of the Solar Suitcase we funded. She has written a small summary for us explaining her experience while she was there. We’ve also selected some of our favorite pictures from the trip and those will be shared with you below.
Karin’s Description of the Amarit Health Center:
Amarit HC lies about 50 km southwest of Bahir Dar, the capital of the Amhara region. The last 15 km is on very bad gravel roads, through a very green farming area. The HC has 2 midwifes, 1 female and 1 male. There is always a midwife on duty, 24/7.
The female midwife is Tigist Kelemu – she is 24 years old and has a government midwife diploma (3 years). Tigist wanted to become a midwife because she always saw mothers and babies die when she was a child. The male midwife, Tamirat, is 25 years old and has a diploma as a midwife. He has worked as a midwife for about 2 years and really enjoys it.
Both the midwives were really happy with the Solar Suitcase; the light that always works through the nights, the fetal Doppler, the possibility to charge the phones and batteries for the fetal Doppler and the two headlamps that are also included. The headlamps are very good for the midwives to use when they move between rooms at the HC during night. Most patients walk 3-4 hours to get to the HC. The HC has electricity, but it is not reliable, and very often does not work. They can never rely on the electricity, so patients coming in for a delivery have to bring a candle or kerosene for a lamp.
Some information about the patients there at the time of the visit:
Sasulischazene is 40 and is expecting her 6th child. She walked 17 km to visit the HC for a pre natal check up. She got to hear her baby’s heartbeat for the first time, when midwife Tigist used the fetal doppler. She was amazed! (see photo). She will most likely not be able to come for delivery, as she cannot leave her home before delivery, and once the contractions start, she said it will be difficult to walk 17 km. Sasulischazene and her husband are farmers. She told me it is a hard life being a farmer and raising kids – you work all the time.
Farmers Almethay, 20, and her husband Gaschopp, 22, were there for a pre natal check up. They have been married 6 years and are expecting their 2nd child. Their first born is 4 years old. They will try to come for the delivery but they are not sure they can walk to the HC once the contractions start. They walked for a little more than 1 hour. They will come for all 4 pre-natal check ups. They also got to listen to their baby’s heartbeat, using the fetal Doppler.
The Amarit HC has a goal to perform 885 deliveries per year. Usually, there are 30-35 deliveries per month, so their goal is to double the number of deliveries. Previous installations of Solar Suitcases have shown that a doubling is very likely.
We also wanted to include an interview with Karin Ranstrand, who was in the Amarit Health Center and met the midwives who run the center. Below you can find a short video with a better description of what the installation process was like.
In the near future, we’re hoping to receive data about how the Solar Suitcase is having an impact in Amarit and evaluate its success.