EWH February News

February 2015

Dear Friends of Engineering World Health:

EWH is working closely with our partners to improve and expand our programs.

Our student programs are thriving! The first Winter Institute in Guatemala hosted 5 SI Alums and 9 students from our partner schools, Rochester Insitute of Technology and George Mason University. We currently have 38 active university Chapters around the world, many of which are busy reigstering for our annual Design Competition. Meanwhile, we're preparing for a fantastic Summer Institute experience with the newly accepted class of 2015!

Students in our BMET Training programs are making excellent progress. We recently highlighted the success of the Rwanda program on our blog. As we continue to strengthen healthcare infrastructure in East Africa, we're looking to add new BMET Trainers & Mentors to our numbers.

In our STEM program, we are introducing more students to engineering and training more teachers to bring STEM activities into their classrooms.

Rwanda: Striding Towards Sustainability

Our BMET Training program in Rwanda has made incredible progress this winter!

The last two Centers of Excellence are physically complete. The Kanombe Military Hospital Workshop set up workbenches and test tools, and the technicians have moved in to start using the space. In the Ruhengeri Workshop in Musanze, renovations are complete and locally constructed chairs are installed. The biomedical instruments for this shop are on their way – once they arrive, technicians can start using this Center of Excellence to repair equipment and train students.Kanombe Center of Excellence Training

Kanombe Center of Excellence Training

Winter Institute: The Hospitals

Written by Inka Johnson, EWH’s Summer Institute Coordinator, who served as On-The-Ground-Coordinator (OTGC) for EWH’s first ever Winter Institute (WI), January 2015, in Antigua and Guatemala City, Guatemala.

As promised in my previous blog, here's a bit about each of the hospitals we worked in during the Winter Institute!

San Juan de Dios Hospital, Guatemala City

The most “well-off” of the three hospitals we worked in was San Juan de Dios, which has more than 20 medical departments and a large maintenance staff. Four of the maintenance staff are dedicated “electromedicina” (biomedical) technicians, one of them formally trained in Japan. However, the needs of the hospital far exceed the time and energy of these four staff members. Most of the “simple” fixes at this hospital could be addressed by the staff, but our students were continuously supplied with more and more equipment to fix, from electrosurgery units (ESU) to anesthesia machines. Although the students did enter the main hospital a few times to speak with doctors and other equipment users, the maintenance staff generally supplied us with more than enough work to do.

Favorite fix: After troubleshooting an ESU for days and repairing several more obvious issues, one of our students eventually discovered a fried cockroach creating a carbon bridge that shorted out part of the circuit! After brushing off the remains of the barbequed victim, the unit went back in service.

Winter Institute: Working In Guatemala

Written by Inka Johnson, EWH’s Summer Institute Coordinator, who served as On-The-Ground-Coordinator (OTGC) for EWH’s first ever Winter Institute (WI), January 2015, in Antigua and Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Engineering World Health designed the Winter Institute as a three-week alternative to the Summer Institute. Our goal was to offer more opportunities for engineering students to make a difference and gain experience working in the developing world. For our first Winter Institute, we went to a new place, with new university and hospital partners, and had a whole new adventure!

As this was EWH’s first Winter Institute, I had no precedent for what to expect, other than personal travel throughout Guatemala and my previous experience as an OTGC for Summer Institute (SI) Nicaragua. I was excited to see how it would turn out! Our participants included four students from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), five from George Mason University (GMU), and five SI alumni. We hosted participants with a wide range of experience, as some of the group are still undergraduates, others recently graduated, and some are already professionals in their field. The RIT and GMU students trained for the Winter Institute with medical device instrumentation courses taught during the fall semester on their home campuses. After coordinating with our participants for a couple of months via Skype and email, I was also excited to finally work with them in person.

Working in Guatemala

1 first day

The group on our first day of work. This beautiful building was just down the street from our homestay.

Why Biomedical Equipment Technicians Matter

Engineering World Health was recently featured on AmeriCares' Medical Outreach Exchange blog, which is designed to help medical professionals learn best practices for delivering international medical aid. COO Ed Hutton illuminated why having a BMET on your medical mission team can be essential.

Cambodia BMET power supply trouble shooting small

He writes:

It isn’t unusual to see multiple babies in a single incubator in developing world hospitals. Many people don’t know the machine is designed to maintain the temperature, oxygen level, and humidity of a single baby. Somewhere near the hospital there is likely a pile of broken incubators ready to donate parts for repairs, if someone knows how to use them.

Frequently, the more mundane supplies we take for granted in the developed world will also be missing.  Correct lubricants, solvents, sealants, fuses, and all of the little bits and pieces a technician thinks of as bench stock are often hard to get or unavailable.  Hand tools on-site will be non-existent or limited.  Specialty tools (gas analyzers, temperature monitors, etc.) are never available.

During my very first visit to Africa, I was looking at medical facilities. I am a Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician, an Electrical Engineer, and tech industry executive. I worked for almost ten years in U.S. hospitals. I had set up technology development companies in the developing world. I had not spent any time in a hospital in a developing country.

I was, frankly, not prepared for what I would see.

To read the rest of Ed's blog, visit: http://medicaloutreach.americares.org/blog/

This week is National Eating Disorder Week. Parents do not cause eating disorders... http://t.co/bZkqu6uaXE #NEDA2015