By Jason Hahn, Alaska Sudan Medical Project (ASMP)
It was two days before Christmas in 2012, and the new clinic under construction by Alaska Sudan medical Project (ASMP) was almost finished. In a matter of several hours, the team almost watched this dream evaporate as a fire engulfed the clinic. Almost half the building was destroyed. However, hope was quickly revived by our friends at TIDES. The TIDES team sent out a note to the global STAR-TIDES network and members were quick to respond. Samaritan’s Purse donated a year’s supply of medical equipment. The supplies arrived in early January 2013 and we unpacked some of the IV fluids for immediate use.
Solar Stik donated a kit to replace the power system that was lost. The kit arrived in March 2013 via DHL Humanitarian Cargo program. The system was quickly installed by solar engineer Greg Greenman from Portland, and ASMPProgram Manager David Kapla. The system is currently powering the new and old clinic. The facility operates during the early morning and evening hours (due to the heat), and power is vital to Dr. Jill Seamen and her staff. In addition to lights, the system has powered microscopes, lab testing equipment, surgical equipment including autoclave, and a portable ultra sound.
The completed new clinic is an “unimaginable source of pride” to the community. Shortly after the lights were turned on, a local worker commented “We are like Khartoum now!” (Khartoum is a modern city of 8 million in north Sudan). Another long-time African logistics officer named Amos noted: “There is no system like this south of the Sahara.” The solar panels and exterior apparatus have endured a full season, including the heavy rains and dry high heat season, with flying colors. The battery bank is performing well. The portable Extender Paks have also allowed staff and volunteers to charge computers, cameras, phones, fans and medical equipment. The simple fact that Dr. Jill has a reliable source of lights during the night time has been a game changer. Previously the majority of medical work was done at work with headlamps. Now, more serious diagnostic and laboratory work can be done during these important night hours. For emergency situation where an important lab test or ultra-sound is needed at night, these tests can now be done! In general, a more modern and clean clinic has brought a higher level of professionalism and care to this very needy region.
Special thanks to DHL Global, National Geographic, Samaritans Purse, Solar Stik, Jayson Southworth, John Crowley, John Francis, Jon Waterhouse and all the other STAR-TIDES members that assisted with this request,