Portable solar power generating systems are beneficial in a variety of situations, but in many locations today, they are saving lives. Around the globe, solar power is helping doctors provide critical treatments and procedures. In many developing locations, power is unreliable or nonexistent, making traditional care delivery difficult or impossible. Everything from lighting and clean water to medical testing and vaccines are now available, thanks to creative applications of photovoltaic solar power generating devices.
When Dr. Laura Stachel went to northern Nigeria in 2008 to investigate high infant mortality rates, she discovered some extremely disturbing conditions at several state-run hospitals. Many had unreliable power sources, and some had no power at all. Nighttime baby deliveries were performed in the dark and cesarean section procedures were done by flashlight. Dr. Satchel’s husband designed a suitcase-sized off-grid solar system to power the maternity ward and operating room. His system provided power for headlamps and communications devices, allowing the safe delivery of babies at night. Together, they founded WE CARE Solar, which is providing these critical systems to midwives and maternal clinics throughout Africa, Asia and Central America.
In the Virgin Islands, photovoltaic solar systems powered water purification systems in the wake of Hurricane Luis, allowing doctors and first responders to have access to safe, potable water for treating storm victims. In rural Nicaragua, people were dying from secondary infections developed after exposure to contaminated surgical instruments. Engineers at MIT developed a solar powered autoclave, known as the Solarclave, that allows instrument sterilization even without electricity. The Solarclave is expected to help small medical clinics all over the world, even those that have ready access to electricity, because they are significantly less expensive and more reliable than traditional models.
Two major developments in the medical community depend on solar power to improve the availability and reliability of data and supplies. A blood pressure monitor that uses sun-charged batteries can perform as many as 300 readings on a single charge, without the use of mercury found in manual testing cuffs. UNICEF is providing solar vaccine refrigerators to medical clinics around the world. These coolers allow doctors to provide critical diphtheria, influenza, polio and hepatitis vaccinations to developing countries. Unlike traditional vaccine coolers, the solar-powered models are less likely to freeze the drugs and render them unusable.
Stateside, similar systems can help you be prepared for any emergency. Intermountain Wind and Solar provides alternative power generating systems to customers throughout the Mountain West region. Contact them today to learn more about portable solar.
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