INSPIRING • EDUCATING • EMPOWERING
To meet patient needs, many hospitals around the world rely on donated medical equipment - but much of this potentially life-saving equipment arrives unusable, and within a few years, nearly all of it is out of service. Infant incubators, oxygen concentrators, and patient monitors lay abandoned in equipment "graveyards." That's where we come in.
Hospitals in low-resource countries face large challenges accessing skilled technicians who can install, maintain, or repair medical equipment. As a result, equipment essential to diagnosing diseases, sterilizing tools, and performing surgery quickly falls out of service. Without working equipment, physicians and nurses are unable to deliver quality health care, and patients suffer. To address this global health challenge, Engineering World Health created the Institute programs. Through hands-on technical training, intensive study of the local language, and cultural immersion, we provide participants with life-changing educational experiences while supporting hospitals in need around the world.
Although modern medical equipment is extremely complex, basic challenges continue to prevent proper operation in low-resource hospitals.
Issues such as damaged cords, clogged filters, or even blown fuses can result in equipment being stored away or discarded. Oftentimes, newly donated equipment sits unused, either because healthcare staff are not sure how to use the device or the manual is not in the local language, among other reasons. Other times, more complex problems require advanced techniques, such as replacing burnt out resistors that have been damaged by a power surge.
EWH’s Summer Institutes are two-month service abroad opportunities for university students and young professionals in STEM fields. During these programs, participants receive intensive technical training before being placed in small groups in hospitals in low-resource areas of Central America, Southeast Asia, and East and West Africa. Participants collaborate with local hospital staff to repair medical equipment and improve the facilities’ overall healthcare technology situation, improving their ability to care for patients.
Each team is also encouraged to complete a secondary project based on their hospital's needs. Past teams have purchased spare parts for their hospitals, built play areas for pediatric wards, translated instruction manuals for equipment, built workshops for local technicians, installed sinks inside the hospital for nurses, built clotheslines for a hospital's laundry, hung mosquito nets over beds, built benches for waiting patients and family members, installed hand sanitizer stations, secured loose oxygen tanks, and much more.
Are you eligible? Have other questions? Check out our FAQ page!