October 3, 2011 (Santa Barbara, CA)—Direct Relief International, a leading medical relief organization, today announced that the KAITEKI Institute has donated one thousand solar-powered lights made by the nonprofit organization Unite to Light to support its maternal and child health programs. The high-performance, long-lasting lights will be provided to support midwifery training programs in countries around the world. Edna Adan University Hospital in Somaliland, one of Direct Relief’s key partners in the Horn of Africa, will be a key recipient of the lights. In Africa and around the world, Direct Relief supports midwife training programs, provides basic medical supplies and surgical equipment to assist in times of obstetric emergencies.
Globally, one thousand women die every day in childbirth, ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in developing countries where access to services and quality of conditions can be limited. A lack of electricity to providing for sufficient lighting is just one of many challenges facing pregnant women and those who care for them in childbirth.
The KAITEKI Institute of Tokyo, Japan, which was recently established by the Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC), is a think-tank and global research institute focused on meeting 21st Century challenges in energy, the environment, and healthcare. The Institute (so named because Kaiteki means “comfort” in Japanese) worked with Unite to Light, a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit organization that produces the lights, in an effort to improve the health of the women in Africa and provide some comfort to its people in extreme need.
“We are grateful to the KAITEKI Institute for their generosity and commitment to helping the people of Somaliland and across Africa by providing sustainable solutions,” said Thomas Tighe, President and CEO of Direct Relief International. “Healthy mothers and children are at the heart of a strong community – yet are disproportionately affected by poor health outcomes in developing countries. Simple, inexpensive equipment such as solar-powered lighting can dramatically improve the health and well-being of women during childbirth and beyond. The impact of this gift will be felt for years to come.”
“We are dedicated to finding long-term solutions that will help improve the health and comfort of people around the globe,” said Dr. Glenn Fredrickson, Executive Director of the KAITEKI Institute and Director of the UCSB-based Mitsubishi Chemical Center for Advanced Materials. “The women of Africa need our help and we are pleased to be working with Unite to Light to support Direct Relief International’s unparalleled work on maternal health.”
About Direct Relief International
Direct Relief International is California’s largest medical relief organization, active in all 50 states and more than 70 countries. It works with more than 1,000 health clinics across the U.S. to assist in emergencies and an ongoing basis, providing them with free medications for people in need. The organization has been among the world’s largest medical suppliers in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, has top charity ratings, including four-star and “top-notch” rating from Charity Navigator, and a 100% fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes magazine. For more information: www.directrelief.org.
About KAITEKI Institute, Inc.
The KAITEKI Institute, Inc. was launched in April 2009 as a vehicle for far-reaching investigations into some of the most challenging problems and trends that are faced by mankind, including sustainable energy and chemicals, climate change and CO2 utilization, regional shortages of food and water, and aging societies. Of particular concern are the future needs of developed and developing countries in the areas of healthcare, wellness, and comfort. The Institute is charged with providing strategic advice to its MCHC parent based on the results of these investigations and executing virtual research programs through a global network of partner institutions that will support future business activities within the MCHC Group. For more information: http://www.kaiteki-institute.com.
About Unite to Light
Unite to Light was founded with the initial assistance of the University of California at Santa Barbara and its world-renowned Institute for Energy Efficiency. Headquartered in Santa Barbara, California, the nonprofit organization provides high efficiency and earth-friendly lighting to people around the world who do not have reliable electricity and has delivered lights to over seventeen countries, on four continents. For more information: http://www.unite-to-light.org.