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Anne Dilenschneider

Anne Dilenschneider

Posted: March 2, 2010 11:36 AM

Help Send 120,000 Solar Lights to Health Teams in Haiti

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Two of the most highly regarded health care nonprofits in Haiti are making an urgent plea for 120,000 lights to assist them in delivering health care to persons who are now dispersed in the rural areas. These efforts to provide urgently-needed medical care to the hundreds of thousands of people who are migrating to the Haitian countryside will provide much needed relief for rural health centers that are already overwhelmed with patient needs. Your donation of $10 for a solar light through the "Light Haiti" project can make a difference for the people being served by Partners in Health and Jhpiego.

Partners in Health and Jhpiego are working with Houston-based SunNight Solar, through the Clinton Global Initiative, to provide their traveling medical teams with solar powered, portable, electronically controlled, lighting devices called BoGo lights. These have been a great success. As one Jhpiego staff member wrote: "I have personally used and seen BoGo lights operate in the PAP post-earthquake environment, where the lack of electricity reduces all recovery efforts. They are durable, lightweight and most importantly, work. They provided consistently strong lighting, even when our conventional battery powered headlamps began to falter. Our doctors, nurses, midwives and transportation staff all appreciate having this alternative lighting source."

Partners in Health (PIH) has been working in Haiti for over 20 years. As part of its on-going effort to provide health care, PIH deploys 2,000 traveling community health workers, "accompagnateurs," to visit patients wherever they are living. These mobile teams travel by foot and public transportation, and carry everything they need in their backpacks. The accompagnateurs are supported by PIH doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, pharmacists and lab technicians at mobile clinics and local community health clinics. PIH estimates that 50,000 solar lights would significantly improve their ability to reach at least 1.7 million Haitians. Solar lights would allow these teams to make more accurate diagnoses and more easily disburse medicines. The lights would also allow these health workers to prepare their reports at night, and thereby devote their precious daylight hours to patient care.

Jhpiego, a group affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, has spent 35 years empowering health workers worldwide by designing and implementing effective, low-cost solutions to improve the delivery of health care services to women and their families. In Haiti, Jhpiego is training midwives to assist 63,000 pregnant women who have been affected by the earthquake. This is no small task, because the infant mortality rate in Haiti is the highest in the Western Hemisphere. Jhpiego is asking for these solar lights because the lights will allow the midwifery teams to identify birthing difficulties more quickly. They plan to use the lights for home births, for more complicated births at fixed and mobile clinics, and for emergency obstetrical units. Jhpiego has offered, in partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Health, to distribute solar lights to all of the health-related NGOs in Haiti, including to those providing services in the informal camps and shelters that have sprung up. They are asking for 70,000 lights for this purpose.

Donations to provide solar lights for the Partners in Heath and Jhpiego healthcare projects can be made at: www.lighthaiti.org You can also order a BoGo light for yourself (BoGo stands for the "Buy one/Give one" SunNight Solar program) at www.bogolight.com

For more info about PIH's mobile clinics go to: http://standwithhaiti.org/haiti/news-entry/pihs-mobile-clinics-hit-their-stride

For more info about Jhpiego go to: http://jhpiego.org