Engineers Without Borders Sweden
Solar panels to save underweight babies´ lives at Lugala Lutheran Hospital
Low birth weight and preterm birth babies require special care in the first hours after birth and over weeks. In the remote and rural area of Morogoro in Tanzania, the Lugala Lutheran Hospital opened in 2019 a dedicated neonatal ward to care for underweight babies and give these newborns a rational chance and realistic perspective for survival. Our project aims to secure a sustainable solar photovoltaic system ensuring that life-saving machinery in the neonatal unit is operational around the clock for these babies in need of constant care. Lugala Lutheran HospitalThe Lugala Lutheran Hospital is located in the Morogoro region in Tanzania, about 600 km from Dar es Salaam. Established in 1949, it is a non-profit health facility serving the communities in Malinyi District and West of Kilombero District, with a population of over 170,000 people.The opening of the neonatal unit has given a striking input to newborn care in the District and has quickly gained a reputation within the region but also nationally. Its daily occupancy rapidly increased - above 20 babies a day - and the building was extended in August 2020 to also care for other neonatological indications and separate newborns with infection from the low weight and very low weight babies.The unit is equipped with lifesaving machines such as oxygen supply as well as Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) to keep the preterm babies´ lung alveoli open and promote their survival. Besides, it sees the child and mother as one therapeutic entity for care and treatment, promoting a steadily growing and lastly emotionally well-balanced mother-child relation while allowing for breastfeeding.Providing a safe and sustainable energy supplyThe lifesaving machines need a continuous supply of electricity when in use. However an unreliable power grid with interruptions in supply for irregular intervals and extended periods of time endangers the lives of the children.The aim of this project is to provide a sustainable source of energy for the unit so that they can focus their efforts and available resources on caring for their patients, saving the lives of 15 newborns per year and support quality care for 490 babies and their mothers yearly.To ensure reliable clean energy for the hospital that offers a low cost, the project will install:a solar photovoltaic system (12.6kWp) used as a complementary source of electricitywith a capacity to run lights for 12 hours and life-saving machines for 24 hours when the grid is not available.Through sustainable energy access, the unit will be able to provide safe care for the families and serve as a model for other hospitals in the region!