Optimized Life Cycle of Medical Devices

Our last but not least project of the Global Health Challenge is about optimizing the life cycle of medical devices.

What is the problem and who is suffering because of it?

In this project we look more closely at the problem that many, otherwise functional, donated medical devices can not be used due to missing parts, missing calibration or even the lack of trained personnel who can operate them. In addition, the approval process of medical devices is largely unknown. For these reasons, patients often can not receive the appropriate treatment and devices are not used to the full potential.

Cycle_faulty sensor
A faulty sensor producing unreliable temperature readings
Picture taken at the Alert Hospital in Addis Ababa (April 2019)

Specifically in Ethiopia, more than a third of medical equipment is not functional and most of it is overused and dependent on donations. As well, power interruptions, untrained staff and lack of maintenance and guidelines make the use of medical devices even more difficult.

The function status of devices in three hospital in Southwest Ethiopia
Source: Availability and utilization of medical devices in Jimma zone hospitals, Southwest Ethiopia: a case study By Beyene Wondafrash Ademe, Bosena Tebeje and Ashagre MollaPublished in the BMC Health Services Research (2016)

The solution:

This team’s solution is based on the evaluation of the important steps of medical devices and the creation of a set of guidelines to make them successful and long-lasting.

To reach this objective, it is essential to consider the Four Principles of Good Donation Practice:

  1. Ensure maximum benefit to the recipient
  2. Respect for the wishes and context of the recipient
  3. Avoidance of quality double standards
  4. Effective donor-recipient communication and planning
Spare wheelchairs, spare parts and repair equipment at Addis Guzo
Picture taken at Addis Guzo in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (April 2019)

The team

  • Bianca T. Blumenschein
  • Fabienne Greier
  • Simon Kassahun
  • Anna Klaas
  • Baturay Yalvac