Solar Lamp Project in India: Article in Burns Journal

September 08, 2014
Richard Bendell

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In 2012-3, Dr Shobha Chamania, Director of the Interburns Training Centre (ITC) at Choirtham Hospital and Research Centre in India ran a research project to assess the feasibility of using solar and LED lamps as a sustainable alternative to kerosene lamps in rural India. Kerosene lamps are a common cause of burns in the home and this small project, funded by the World Health Organisation (WHO), was a pilot programme to look at sustainable and affordable alternatives to kerosene lamps that could remove this hazard and reduce the incidence of burns in rural communities.

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In many parts of rural India, including in Madhya Pradesh where the project took place, electricity is either very limited or unavailable and such lamps are often an important source of light and heat for villagers. Unfortunately, the improvised kerosene lamps that are commonly used are often unsafe and an accidental spillage can result in serious burns for householders and children.

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An article on this work, ‘Pilot project in rural western Madhya Pradesh, India to assess the feasibility of using LED and solar-powered lanterns to remove kerosene lamps and related hazards from homes’ has accepted for publication in the BURNS journal. This article examines the impact of replacing kerosene lamps in several hundred households in a number of villages on the incidence of burns and the cultural and social acceptability of the new lamps among the local communities. Our hope is that this successful pilot project will pave the way for future, larger-scale prevention initiatives to reduce the high incidence of burns in rural India.

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Interburns would like to thank Dr Shobha Chamania and her team for all their work in making this project a success. Special thanks are also due to Dr David Meddings of the World Health Organisation (Violence and Injury Prevention) for funding this programme.