I have spent a lot of time coordinating with the folks over at MedShare over the years to get goods from one place to the next. When I received their newsletter a few days ago I was very happy to see the following story:
Biomedical Engineer Travels to West Africa
Eben Amstrong, right, MedShare’s Biomedical Engineer,
shows a technician how to repair an x-ray machine in
Freetown, Sierra Leone.
“Tell me all of your problems. I may not be able to fix everything, but I will be able to fix some things.”
This is how MedShare’s Biomedical Engineer, Eben Amstrong, introduces himself when he visits medical institutions overseas. He periodically travels to some of MedShare’s recipient hospitals to assess their needs, check up on the equipment MedShare has sent in its forty-foot containers, and train fellow biomedical engineers and technicians in troubleshooting and equipment maintenance. Those who benefit from his time and knowledge are always reluctant to let him leave.
While the story is not yet up on their site you can link to their news section here. The reason I love this kind of news is because while most places we work have fantastic physicians they don’t have the technicians to maintain the equipment. You would be amazed at how much mileage remote clinics get out of the most basic equipment. I distinctly remember wandering through the lab at the main hospital in Nasiriya in 2003 while the friendly and capable lab technicians pointed to equipment that was laying idle for want of spare parts and repair. MedShare provides both the spare parts and the service training. This type of ‘full circle’ service is exactly what other organizations should work to emulate.