Lights out in Nigeria

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Dr. Laura Stachel from Berkeley, California, was on a research trip in Nigeria and witnessed physicians performing an emergency caesarean section on a young woman.  Halfway through the procedure, the lights went out. Dr. Stachel gave her flashlight to the physicians, and the operation was completed successfully. 

Dr. Laura Stachel experienced many other times when mothers and babies were at risk as a result of unreliable electricity. Women with complications were often turned away or the procedures were delayed until sunrise. With adequate daylight, the physicians could perform the necessary procedures. Midwives use candles, lanterns or cell phones to help mothers give birth to their babies during nighttimes, but that is hardly adequate light for maternity care. For babies who are in need of resuscitation, you need directed light. 

Forty-thousand women died in 2010 while giving birth to their babies. Research found that four percent of babies in Nigeria die before reaching the age of one month. No doubt Nigeria is one of the top ten most dangerous countries in the world for a woman to give birth.

Dr. Stachel raised funds to provide solar electric systems to the state hospital in northern Nigeria. To date, she provided approximately 250 solar systems to facilities in more than twenty countries. The light resulted in good changes. Women no longer get turned away from the hospitals, and midwives do not have to use their cell phones or candles for light anymore. 

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