Keeping the Lights On So Mothers and Babies Can Live!
APM contributed to a solar generator system for Obaatan Pa Women’s Hospital in Ghana, a non-profit hospital run by Dr. Amelia Laing, which is one of APM’s partner hospitals. Dr Laing’s article below gives us only a small taste of the difference this significant contribution makes towards achieving the “fund a need” purpose!
“Obaatan Pa received a patient who was fairly high risk given her age, and her elevated blood pressure. She was carrying her second child, and was three and a half weeks before her due date, her blood pressure was so out of control that we decided she needed to be delivered in order to correct her condition of Severe preeclampsia. Untreated, this could lead to seizures, strokes and or death for both mother and child. As is common in these parts, despite a lot of talking on our part, she did not really appreciate the seriousness of her condition. Her care would have been routine in the US, however, it took a lot of nurses and talking and teaching and hands on care to get her where she is now, delivered with improving blood pressures. She would definitely have required one on one nursing in the US, and considering that the standard of the average nurse here, is not quite that of the average one in the US, and that the nurses at Obaatan Pa are still learning to use some of the technology we have, it was quite a production.
We needed and used our IV pump for delivering drugs to prevent seizures. The pump is important because without it, it is very hard to estimate drug doses accurately- most hospitals in Ghana count drops per minute, which you can imagine is not ideal, though it works. These drugs also have a narrow margin of safety, so one can easily under dose the patient and not have an adequate response or worse, overdose the patient and cause complications. Sometimes intramuscular doses are used, every 4-6 hours, which are painful and miserable for an already sick person. They definitely raise their blood pressure which is already an issue, too.
She came in last night and as we started her in labor, we monitored mother and baby closely, using our fetal monitors. Baby, to our great relief behaved great throughout. The mother received IV Magnesium through the pump, quite painlessly. The fans kept her cool, as intravenous magnesium makes one feel very warm. We were using solar power when she came in, and it powered both the fetal monitors, the IV pump, and of course lights and fans. The power from the grid came on at 0600 this morning, and we switched over automatically. At noon (unscheduled), there was a power outage, which continues till this minute. Again we did not miss a beat- hardly noticed it. Mother was delivered at 1030, we had great lighting, and baby was in great condition, we were able to use our warmer, as we did expect a tiny baby who might need a lot of help. Fortunately she was quite feisty and did not need much assistance. The mother will need the Magnesium for another 24 hours, and we are not at all concerned about what the electricity corporation of Ghana might do or not do. We know we can give her a high quality of care, without interruptions.
I hope I have given you some idea about how much difference the solar generator has made to our ability to care for patients, and the general quality of life on the premises. We thank you , and I know we will bless your names even further when the weather gets really hot. It is a fairly cool 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit right now.
Greetings from Accra,
Amelia Laing, MD
Dr. Amelia Laing is a board certified obstetrician/gynecologist in Orrville, Ohio and runs Obaatan Pa Women’s hospital in Accra, Ghana.
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