Tanzania

Giving light, giving life: sun-powered healthcare part 2

October 2016

This post continues from Giving light, giving life: sun-powered healthcare part 1.

We’re working with our partner D-Tree International to empower the heroes of off-grid healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa – the Community Health Workers.

These CHWs have extremely demanding jobs in often very challenging conditions, including a lack of access to electricity. Due to the nature of their work, they have to be mobile and available at all times, day and night. As we mentioned in part one, CHWs often also have to be very resourceful with the few tools they have to hand. One of the most important tools is their mobile phones but not always for the reason you might expect: many CHWs, for example, are forced to deliver babies at night with a mobile phone clamped between their teeth as their only source of light.

In all respects, for CHWs who work in mHealth, their smartphone equipped with a life-saving m-Health app is the key to the future of better, more accurate healthcare for people living without electricity. And of course for this smartphone to be at all useful, it needs a reliable, high-capacity charger.

This is why D-tree has partnered with us: our solar phone charger, Little Sun Charge empowers people with the sun, regardless of where they live, regardless of their access to energy.  So finally, there’s a smart solution to meet all the needs of these heroes of healthcare: a smartphone, an mHealth app and a way to power the phone without relying on the grid!

 

The Little Sun Charge was selected by D-Tree for its 4400 mAh battery and rapid charging solar panel. Its durable compact design makes it very mobile and the integrated LED light allows CHWs to complete their work after dark. This summer the first Little Sun Charges where delivered to Tanzania and are already in use with CHWs in Zanzibar and in rural locations in the Lake Zone of Tanzania.

Being a health organization focused on technology, D-tree has high standards for selecting equipment. Through internal testing in cooperation with their stakeholders, the Little Sun Charge was the clear winner.

“We have heard back from a few of our community health workers (CHWs) in Zanzibar and they overwhelmingly prefer Little Sun to the (…) chargers which we are currently using. They say that they like the small size and ability to carry it with them when they are in the community conducting home visits.” Erica Layer, Program Director D-tree international.

CHW Asma from Unguja, located in Zanzibar, was really surprised how easy it was to use the Little Sun Charge and said that it makes her life much easier:

“Very few of us in my village have electricity at home, so I used to charge my phone at the neighbour’s house. So it is much better now I don’t have to be a burden on them to ask for their electricity.”

Subira, a CHW from Dunga Bweni in Zanzibar is glad about the new freedom of a charger at home:

“I used to charge my phone at the local shop. This always worried me as I was scared it would be stolen as I couldn’t wait there for 3 or more hours for it to charge. Now I can be at peace as its charging at home without risk of theft”.

More information on our partner:

D-tree is an NGO combining technology with healthcare. Their mission is to transform systems to support consistently effective health worker performance globally. If you are interested in supporting the innovative work of D-tree, check out www.d-tree.org.

 

If you are a humanitarian worker interested in being involved in our projects, please contact our Little Sun Team directly: Mason (mason@littlesun.com) or give us a call on +49 30200039141.

 

Photo credits: D-tree International 2016