This summer, five students from Virginia Commonwealth University participated in EWH's Summer Institute.
VCU's EWH Chapter sent three students to participate in Summer Institute in 2014. The new and rapidly growing Chapter has also brought STEM education to K-12 students in the Richmond area, and collaborated with the World Pediatrics Project on their work in Central America. Last year, VCU's EWH Chapter won Chapter of the Year.
For SI 2015, Anisa, Sindora, Veronica spent two months in Nicaragua, while Tiffany and Nitin went to Rwanda.
Anisa with a Sonogram in Nicaragua: Tiffany & her team cook dinner for their host family in Rwanda:
IntraHealth International recently invited EWH to write a guest blog on the importance of BMETs as health workers in developing countries. Here's what we had to say:
When government agencies and private organizations in advanced economies make generous donations of medical equipment to low-resource countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the donors intend to strengthen health care systems, reduce human suffering, and save lives.
But when assistance doesn’t take into account specific local conditions, the generosity doesn’t always live up to the donors’ good wishes.
Unfortunately, the absence of technical support in hospitals and clinics in the low-income world too often limits the usefulness of the donation.
The problem is simple: medical equipment manufactured in the US, Japan, and Europe is designed for use in clean, air-conditioned environments with steady electrical currents. Even in the best of conditions, equipment requires maintenance by skilled technicians and careful user-training.
This summer, EWH brought STEM activities to hundreds of K-12 students in North Carolina. Our Summer Institute programs gave 67 participants the opportunity to live and work in Nicaragua, Tanzania, and Rwanda as they used their engineering skills to improve health care around the world. Now, we are thrilled to have reached a new school year! We hope you'll join us in creating new Chapters, building Kits, and designing Projects that Matter.
Check out the latest ways to get involved with EWH:
The University of Puthisastra, our academic partner in Cambodia for our BMET Training program, recently shared a video featuring our program! Check it out:
As the video says, UP's BMET program is the first in Cambodia. Steve Goeby, our country coordinator, says, "All the students who have worked in BMET have come through the school here. We have a very strong network within the public and private and NGO hospitals as well, and as a result we have very strong connections around the whole country."
Our On the Ground Coordinator Ung Kunthear explains how the program is set up: "At hospitals we divide in two. First, we practice at the Center of Excellence workshop in Calmette Hospital. And the second point, [the students] have to practice directly at their hospitals. Moreover, the lecturers visit and mentor to help students to perform their work in the right way."
The BMET Training Program in Cambodia has now trained dozens of students, many of whom are also assigned to work in public hospitals. Their work is already making a difference in Cambodia's healthcare system as they keep everything from air conditioners to incubators to ultrasound machines up and running. EWH is currently training the trainers as we work to ensure the sustainability of this program, giving Cambodians the tools and knowledge they'll need to continue training BMETs on their own.
This account of the University of Portland's second repair trip to Haiti is written by Emily Bliven, University of Portland EWH Chapter Officer and President of the Biomedical Engineering Club. To read about UP's first trip last year, click here.
Less than a week after graduating from University of Portland, four classmates and I boarded a plane taking us to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, led by a technician from our engineering school. In Haiti we met our coordinator, Dan Schuster, whose Oregon-based nonprofit, BETA Intl (www.bmet-aid.com), shares biomedical training resources with Engineering World Health in Haiti and Tanzania. Our mission was to spend a week repairing medical devices at an understaffed and underfunded hospital, Bernard Mevs, supported by Project Medishare (www.projectmedishare.org). I was told to bring face masks, mosquito netting, and my own bed sheets. In other words, I had no idea what to expect; I’ve never been to a developing country before, let alone traveled somewhere to spend the whole time working. I knew we were staying at Bernard Mevs Hospital in central Port-Au-Prince, the only trauma center in the city. None of this meant anything to me until after the trip, when realized I would carry these memories with me for the rest of my life.