This edition of Notes From the Field focuses on the recent disaster relief efforts of Save the Children. The organization recently made an impact by facilitating medical care in Mozambique, which was devastated by Cyclone Idai earlier this year. Many medical facilities lost power during the cyclone, inhibiting their ability to treat local patients when it was needed the most. Save the Children saw this problem and partnered with LuminAID to send solar lanterns and phone chargers to the Dombe health clinic, which sees extremely ill patients referred by Save the Children's mobile medical centers. The organization described the impact that LuminAID lanterns had in their mission to assist the Dombe health clinic:
On the 14th March 2019, Cyclone Idai made landfall near Beira City, in Central Mozambique. The cyclone brought torrential rain and wind to Sofala, Zambezia, Tete, Manica and Inhambane provinces affecting over 1.85 million people, including 1 million children. In response to Cyclone Idai, LuminAID donated solar powered lanterns to Save the Children. Solar lanterns were donated to the Dombe health facility. In Manica Province, Save the Children’s mobile clinics refer serious cases to Dombe health facility. The mobile clinics travel to the field everyday reaching communities who do not have access to health care. They deliver essential medical services to girls, boys, and families affected by cyclone Idai and provide them with preventive services including vaccinations and treatment for malaria.
Dr. Sergio runs this health facility. On the day of the cyclone, Dr. Sergio was at his home, “I saw the river coming out. [...] We just heard that it would be a cyclone, we were waiting for the blowing. We didn’t feel the wind. But the water was spreading [...] That is when I thought we were in trouble. No way to get in, no way to get out.” After spending 3 days rescuing people from the floods, Dr. Sergio was finally able to think about his health facility. “I was thinking about the medicines, the doctor materials. But my priority was to get the people out of the water”. Communities sought refuge in a school. He brought critical patients as well as vulnerable girls, boys, women and men from the school to the health facility for treatment, despite the lack of electricity and medicines running out. Dombe health facility still does not have power. “With the lamps, we have guaranteed light. Now we can be comfortable by using the lights. The objective is to guarantee the light for the emergency service, in the maternity ward and in the emergency room. Before, we would use our mobile phones to illuminate the rooms.” The lanterns will allow the doctor and the health facility staff to continue taking care of patients who have been affected by the cyclone, including those brought by Save the Children’s mobile clinics.
Some lights are also used by the Emergency Health Unit who runs the mobile health clinics. For example, LuminAID’s solar lanterns are used as a source of light to examine the medicines received from the Chimoio warehouse.
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Save the Children made a massive impact on both the Dombe health clinic and the patients that it sees. We're proud to see LuminAID lanterns being used to better the health, and lives, of Mozambicans recovering from the destruction of Cyclone Idai