What do you do with broken appliances at home? Some of us try creative ways to repair those coffee machines and toasters with duct tape and WD-40. Few are blessed to have that one handy friend who can fix almost anything. Then, there are those of us who just spend more money to buy a replacement.
In hospitals, there are in-house engineers and technicians who repair and calibrate medical devices when the need arises. There are even third-party vendors and manufacturers who can be easily engaged to ensure that a device is repaired and sent back to the clinical care environment. However, most emerging countries don’t have these options. Broken equipment gets piled into an area that has been frustratingly termed “equipment graveyard” by global health workers.
Currently, the road from patient care to equipment graveyard is a one-way street. We are working hard to change that. Capacity building, lack of healthcare technology management, and supply chain have all been cited as the main causes for medical devices ending up in the “equipment graveyard.” Recognizing that there are multiple factors that contribute to the issue of broken devices in the healthcare technology ecosystem, we have decided to take an eco-system based approach to move equipment from graveyards to patient care environments. So, we strive to combine capacity building initiatives with supply chain solutions and policy strengthening activities.
While this is a daunting task, we are motivated by the mothers and children on the other end of the bridge between equipment graveyards and patient care. We want to ensure that no patient lacks quick access to safe care due to medical equipment that are not in use. Stay tuned over the next few months as we share snapshots of our various interventions and how our partnerships are helping us bring about meaningful and sustainable change in healthcare technology management for emerging countries.