CLASP Commemorates International Women’s Day with Safe & Efficient Hospital Lighting

This International Women's Day, we highlight CLASP's Nyamolo Abagi who is launching hospital LED retrofits in Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines to lower hospital energy costs, provide better quality lighting and reduce the risk of mercury exposure for both patients and staff.

Hannah Blair, Nyamolo Abagi

To commemorate International Women’s Day, throughout March we will highlight the voices and work of women working to advance CLASP’s mission across our global offices. Our first article features Nyamolo Abagi, a Manager in CLASP’s Nairobi office who is bringing progressive LED industry into the fight for clean, energy-efficient lighting.

“I have been with CLASP for over four years, primarily focused on developing the market for high-quality, energy-efficient off-grid solar appliances in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia,” explains Nyamolo. “Last year, I transitioned to join the CLASP-led Clean Lighting Coalition as the Industry Lead. In my new role, I build partnerships with LED companies around the world to prove that the private sector is not only ready but pushing for a global transition to clean LED lighting.”

Nyamolo Leads Hospital Retrofits in Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines

On Tuesday, Nya’s team is launching three LED retrofit pilots at hospitals in Brazil, Nigeria, and the Philippines. The pilots aim to demonstrate that institutional buildings can easily and cost-effectively replace outdated, toxic lighting products with energy-efficient LEDs. The retrofitted LEDs will not only lower hospital energy costs, but also provide better quality lighting and reduce the risk of mercury exposure for both patients and staff.

“Our hospitals have been particularly stretched through the pandemic and could greatly benefit from cost saving solutions. Our partner hospitals are currently operating with outdated, toxic fluorescent lamps which consume 50-60% more energy than LED lamps. Halving their lighting bill is as simple as changing a light bulb!” explains Nya. “By replacing their current lighting with LEDs, we also improve working conditions for hospital staff as LEDS provided a higher quality lighting experience”

Fluorescent Lighting Poses a Threat to Women & Children

All fluorescent bulbs contain mercury – a harmful neurotoxin that the WHO classifies as one of the ten major chemicals of public health concern. Fluorescent lamps release mercury whenever they break. Because the bulbs are fragile, this can occur in homes, schools, childcare settings, office and apartment buildings, retail stores, factories, health care and other facilities.

“We are excited to launch these pilots on International Women’s Day because safe and energy efficient technologies play an important role in women’s empowerment,” says Nya. “Mercury is most dangerous to children, babies and developing fetuses. All of our hospital partners have maternity wards so in addition to the energy and cost benefits of LEDs, we want to remove any risk that the mothers or babies could be exposed to mercury.” Uptake of mercury vapor in early life not only results in a higher relative dose than in adults, but also increases the risk of developmental disabilities.

Accelerating the Global Transition to LEDs

Nya and the rest of the Clean Lighting Coalition team are working to accelerate the transition to LEDs globally, by removing exemptions for fluorescent lighting under the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Later this month, 137 countries – representing more than 6 billion people – will meet in Bali to vote on a proposed amendment to end the manufacture, export and import of fluorescents by 2025.

“The hospital retrofits are a component of our global strategy to bring together environmental and health advocates, private sector, technical experts and world leaders to demonstrate that it’s time to make mercury lighting history.”

Join Nya and our partners in Lagos, São Paulo and Manila for a special International Women’s Day Twitter Space event on Tuesday, 8 March at 8am ET to learn more about the retrofits and the benefits of LEDs. You can follow and engage with the launches via the Clean Lighting Coalition and CLASP Twitter accounts and sign our petition urging Heads of Delegation to the Minamata Convention phase-out fluorescents.


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