During the 2023 Summer Institutes, 51 students and young professionals from around the world served as volunteer biomedical equipment technicians in Guatemala, Uganda, and Nepal with Engineering World Health. Alongside international students from eleven different countries, twelve local engineering students from Uganda and Guatemala had the opportunity to participate in this intensive program thanks to support from EWH’s Lynn Toby Fisher Scholarship Fund.
During the first month of our open-enrollment programs in Guatemala and Uganda, volunteers receive intensive, hands-on training from EWH instructors while living with and getting to know their cohort and host country. In month two, volunteers are placed in small groups at hospitals and clinics to serve as volunteer engineers with the goal of repairing critical medical equipment and working with local staff to improve their hospital’s ability to care for patients.
EWH’s Nepal Summer Institute is operated in partnership with Denmark Technical University, and after completing the training course at DTU, students travel to Nepal for a 6-week Institute.
Across three countries and dozens of EWH partner hospitals, our 2023 Institute volunteers repaired 395 pieces of medical equipment worth an estimated $790,000 USD. Among the top types of equipment repaired across all three programs were blood pressure machines, oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters, and patient monitors.
2023 volunteers also completed a number of impressive secondary projects, from building custom pieces of equipment to creating a website for hospital staff to report broken equipment to maintenance and track repairs.
We are excited to share final reports for each program, including more information about the student experience and details on their repairs and secondary projects, here:
Volunteer feedback from the 2023 Summer Institutes was overwhelmingly positive, with students describing the experience as "eye-opening" and "life-changing." Several students said that the program helped them not only gain skills, but also the confidence to try new things.
When asked about the most valuable part of the program, participants responded with two things: being able to make a difference for people in need, and having the opportunity to meet and learn from so many other people, including other students, EWH staff, and medical professionals. One student remarked, “We fixed a lot of stuff for the OR and we could see they started using our repairs immediately. But the most valuable thing is the friendships I made.”
Another said, "For me, the most valuable part of the program was meeting other engineering students from all over the world. I really enjoyed learning about different cultures. Every single participant brought something unique to our group.”
The 2024 Summer Institute application is open now! Find more information and apply at www.ewh.org/apply.
We would like to thank all of the students, coordinators, instructors, partners, and donors who helped make these programs possible! You can make a gift to support our 2024 programs here.