Everyday in the world roughly 800 women die giving birth. Most of these deaths occur in poor countries where access to the most basic necessities is scarce. In Africa the chances of a woman dying during childbirth are 1 in 39, compared to the United States where approximately 18.5 women die for every 100,000 births.
In 2008 Dr. Laura Stachel traveled to Nigeria to find answers about maternal mortality and how it could be lowered. She found many state hospitals were running without reliable electricity. Nighttime deliveries were being preformed by candlelight, flashlight, torch, or in complete darkness. Some patients were even being sent away – often with fatal consequences. If there were any complications during childbirth, doctors would be unable to use medical equipment to save the life of the mother or child without electricity to operate the machines. Many of these deaths could be prevented if the hospital simply had a reliable source of energy. Performing surgery in almost complete darkness is very dangerous, often with devastating results.
Dr. Stachel contacted her husband Hal Aronson who has a solar energy background. Together they came up with an idea to bring power to these hospitals.