USA - Arrow Electronics and We Care Solar, a not for profit organisation, won the 2019 Edison Award for Social Innovation for their Solar Suitcase 3.0, a portable and durable power system that provides sustainable energy for around-the-clock, effective obstetric care in remote and off-grid maternal health facilities around the world.
The Solar Suitcase, developed by We Care Solar, was named winner in the category of Humanitarian Technology.
With more than one billion people living without electricity around the world and about 300,000 women dying in childbirth, often turned away from health centers that lack power the Solar Suitcase ensures women have access to safe childbirth in well-lit health facilities.
We Care Solar’s lifesaving technology solution is a sun-powered, waterproof, compact system that includes medical-quality lighting, a foetal monitor, rechargeable headlamps, and cell phone charging for remote health workers to make emergency referrals. It equips medical providers with the power to save lives.
Arrow Electronics helped We Care Solar by making a lower cost, more powerful Solar Suitcase design that is now easier to manufacture at scale, install and operate.
Each Solar Suitcase unit is expected to work for at least five years before requiring a battery replacement.
Field testing of the Solar Suitcase is currently being undertaken in Uganda with expanded manufacturing in the United States planned for 2019.
Commenting on the effectiveness of the innovative technology, Maimuna Muye, a Nigerian midwife said, “Having the light changed the lives of the health workers and the patients. It changed everything.”
The Edison Award, named after Thomas Alva Edison, recognises and honours the world’s best innovators and innovations. 2019 marks the 32nd year the Edison Universe organisation has recognised technology innovation in categories ranging from medical advancements to building materials.
The Edison Award winners were announced at a ceremony in New York on April 4, 2019.