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Ignite Health: Solar powered components that Save Mothers and Infants

Ignite Health promotes community development through energy access with solar powered clinics systems in rural communities.

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In no more than 3 sentences, please tell us who your idea is designed for and how it reimagines the new life experience.

Our idea is designed for the rural maternity clinics where access to power supply is a major hassle during delivery. Ignite Health aims to bring portable solar +inverter+ batteries electric kits to clinics and small hospitals to power lighting, mobile communication and essential medical equipment for emergency obstetric care. Our ‘kits’ are low-cost, easy-to-use, robust and reliable, enabling health care workers in low-resource areas to provide safe and prompt obstetric care.

Ignite Health addresses the problems resulting from unreliable electricity in maternity centers in Africa. Without reliable electricity and phones, night time lighting cannot be assured, midwives cannot locate doctors, and essential medical equipment lies dormant. Midwives conduct deliveries and repair lacerations by the dim glow of a candle or kerosene lantern. Nurses wait hours for messengers to try and locate physicians to provide emergency procedures. Doctors have inadequate lighting for surgical procedures, and sometimes do their job by candlelight. And the patients they care for are the ones to suffer. Women labor in darkness, waiting for skilled care that may never come. Critically ill women face tragic delays in care, or are asked to find another facility that may or may not have better services. All too often, they receive suboptimal care. All too often, the life of a baby or a mother is lost.

Ignite Health provides a simple solution to one aspect of maternity care that is all too often overlooked – lack of reliable electricity. The Ignite Health Kits combines off-the-shelf solar electric technology (solar+inverter+battery) with a few plug-and-play enhancements to create a user friendly technology that is robust, easy-to-understand, and easy-to-maintain. The system allows health care workers to have surgical quality light, power for mobile communication, power blood bank refrigerator and power for medical devices. The system can be easily augmented to power computers and fans.

The system is designed to be easy to replicate. Our goal is to eventually train a cadre of solar technicians to first repair and eventually make these systems in their own country. We think that by training people to make these we are empowering them to use the kits for health care, education, and entrepreneurial activities. By increasing the livelihood of community members, we help take people out of poverty, and improve the health of the whole community.

At what stage is your idea?

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

The idea has been successfully tested in Abeokuta Nigeria with two clinics using a locally built inverter, solar panels and inexpensive car batteries and the feed backs were awesome. The system under normal circumstance allows the clinics to have light to work with their patients and also power necessary medical devices which wasn’t possible initially. Our goal now is to package and replicate this innovation across Africa, and around the world.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

We aim to get funding and design support from OpenIDEO to help us scale on this innovation. we also hope to leverage on this platform to secure more partners around the world for exports.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a trained physician, and a serial entrepreneur. I am the founder of Ignite Health Services, a social enterprise that promotes community development through energy access with solar powered clinics systems in rural communities across Nigeria and Africa.

This idea emerged from...

  • An organization or company

Are you an expecting, new, or experienced mom?

  • no

Are you a healthcare practitioner?

  • yes

Are you a current employee of UCB Pharmaceuticals or Sutter Health?

  • no

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