It is amazing what you can achieve when you collaborate and this is exactly what happened in a hospital system which nearly collapsed due to problems associated with equipment failure by spare part sourcing compounded by inadequate workers. Timely intervention by joint efforts of nurses, engineers, technicians and students in equipment design and fabrication saved many patients from prevalent agony.
‘A critical shortage of working medical equipment is one reason so many women and babies cannot receive the health care services they need for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth, resulting in needless deaths in developing countries, including Kenya’ The Maker Movement, (2016)
The design and fabrication of suction machine, phototherapy lights, and examination light in the pilot program is a welcome idea and it will go a long way to alleviate existing problems, meanwhile if the group sustain their effort to work together without prejudice, they will succeed with many other equipment. It is not an overstatement to say others should learn from this positive development.
There are other simple equipment you can try work on such as surgical operating light; slit lamp power supply unit; bipolar electrosurgical unit (bipolar diathermy); sterilizer and portable autoclave for CSSD and laboratory etc. Other areas in need of attention in many hospital include ample lighting in critical areas such as the ICU, NICU, Eye Clinic and Operating Room. Lighting in such location is compulsory 24/7 grid supply or not.
It is not compulsory to have it perfect at first attempt but through persistent study, giving sufficient time to research and development carrying others along working as a dedicated team, not ignoring anyone input and seek help when required, much will accomplish. you don’t need to reinvent the wheel; purchase ready-made components, restructure to suit your purpose, get those you can locally, import if necessary, do some local fabrication keeping it simple as much as possible but follow all standard regulations for safety especially.
Meanwhile, in the interim, train and retrain technical personnel in existence to update their knowledge and skills to maintain available infrastructure. Support and encourage your staff with funds for materials to facilitates proper Preventive Maintenance (PM), this will make your devices functional for a long period and minimize expenses on repair.
Three tiny babies lie sleeping side-by-side in a single incubator in Kenyatta National Hospital’s Newborn Unit in Nairobi while nurses work busily around them. The unit in Kenya’s largest public hospital is a busy place and skilled staff members do all they can with overstretched resources, including a lack of functioning medical equipment.