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Sister Yvonne remembers a clinic in the dark

Sofia Ollvid

Sister Yvonne Lubunda works at a small rural health clinic in Eastern Zambia. She dreamt of becoming a nurse when she was a child, and with a passion of taking care of the sick, Sister Yvonne has now been a nurse for 8 years.

Five years ago, the unelectrified clinic got solar lights to light up the rooms. Sister Yvonne is noticing a big difference, but she also recalls how life was before, when she had to perform life threatening procedures in the dark.

“It was very challenging, because for example, with a woman in labour we were using a personal phone, just to deliver the woman. And personal lights, the torches with batteries. We would ask the mothers and the patient to come with their own lights. Some would bring candles, which is not even safe.”

Sister Yvonne lives in a small brick house next to the clinic, she says that if an emergency comes in, the night guard comes to wake her up, and she can walk over to the facility.

”Now, it’s very good, with these solar lights. And it’s cheaper. Because, for candles, you need to buy every time. Then for batteries, you need to buy every time. But for this system that we have, it’s very cheap and effective. The patients now know, that we have something to use. So they have seen a difference.”

At the clinic, there is also a solar powered fridge, used to store life saving medicines and vaccines. “You cannot go wrong with solar”, says Sister Yvonne and smile.

Healthcare worker such as Sister Yvonne are at the forefront, suffering the consequences of energy poverty. No healthcare worker should be forced to work in the dark.