The Guardian's "Poverty Matters Blog" reports on a one-day conference held in London this week that brought together engineers, health workers, donors and charities to look at devices specifically designed for the developing world. The conference, which was organized by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), addressed that fact that, according to WHO estimates, "as much as three-quarters of all medical devices in the developing world do not function" because of such factors as "[p]arts that are expensive and difficult to replace, the need for a constant electricity supply, a lack of trained operators [or] unsuitability to rough terrain," the blog notes.
The devices proposed at the conference include a solar-powered hearing aid, nipple shields for HIV-positive mothers who wish to breastfeed and a special seat that would allow donkeys to provide "cheap emergency transport" in remote, mountainous regions, according to the blog (Tran, 9/18).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.