Giving Compass’ Take:
• An article at Stanford Social Innovation Review offers tips for providers to ensure reliable medical devices reach the communities that need them most.
• How do unreliable medical devices have the potential for devastating consequences? How can you fund the safe development of reliable medical devices across the world?
As public health stakeholders around the globe continue to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and others like it, here are a few practices to keep in mind in the design, deployment, and scaling of technological solutions. Following these guidelines, we believe, will help ensure vulnerable people in low- and middle-income countries get the aid they need.
Understand Local Needs
It is worth repeating the well-known concept that solutions providers need to understand problems and their resolutions through the eyes of the people experiencing them.
Prepare for Fluctuations in Power Supply
Given that many health facilities in lower-resource countries lack access to reliable power grids and often can’t get fuel for back-up generators, machines meant to save lives must be able to accommodate power outages and voltage fluctuations.
Provide Open Source or Standardized Designs
Standardizing design, or allowing designs to be flexible based on localized supply chains, allows local stakeholders to source and use equipment more effectively.
Assess the Availability of Other Goods That Are Essential to the Device
Ventilators are considered to be a powerful life-saving tool for COVID-19 and for other urgent medical needs, such as surgery and treatment for lung disease. However, ventilators don’t work alone. When distributing equipment to facilities, we shouldn’t assume there is a panacea for all health needs.
Before You Ship
As this pandemic continues to unfold, the risk of producing and distributing devices that end up in growing equipment graveyards is all too real. Asking a few questions up front can ensure that the best-intentioned plans to distribute medical gear also come with the best results. Before shipping equipment, make sure it works well for the people it is intended to help.
Read the full article about reliable medical devices at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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