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Stark reality of maternal mortality shown on NBC’s Revolution

A surgical team performs a c-section during a power cut in Abobo Sud Hospital in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, April 18, 2011. A week after the end of the military standoff in Abidjan, very few hospitals are open. During the height of fighting, people were stuck in their homes for up to a month without access to health care.

The post-apocalyptic hit NBC series Revolution takes place 15 years after the lights have gone out around the world. The global blackout has plunged the US into warring factions and a primitive existence.

This guest post written by Whitney Showler, who heads Music for Relief, the non-profit established by Sustainable Energy for All supporter Linkin Park, touches on some of the issues covered in this week’s episode.

Although we may consider childbirth routine, without electricity it can be very dangerous. Women give birth at night in near darkness, cesarean sections are cancelled or conducted by flashlight, and critically ill mothers or babies wait hours or days for life-saving procedures.  The outcomes can be tragic.

In Africa, pregnancy and childbirth complications result in hundreds of maternal deaths every day, including within the country of Uganda.  Ugandan clinics often don’t have reliable electricity for lighting and medical equipment.  Power the World, a philanthropic initiative of rock band Linkin Park and Music for Relief, is funding WE CARE Solar Suitcases for Ugandan clinics.  The Solar Suitcase is a portable solar energy system that improves maternal and child health outcomes by providing reliable light and power.

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The Power the World Solar Suitcase initiative is helping thousands of women around the world who face the same dangers as the woman in Munroe’s flashback on the Revolution episode “Dead Man Walking” who went through labor in a tent with none of the modern amenities afforded by electricity.

With the Solar Suitcase, health providers can see at night for routine deliveries and surgical procedures, and can promptly diagnose and treat birth complications.  If you would like to help send a WE CARE Solar Suitcase to light up childbirth in Africa, click here to support Power the World.

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