‘Frugal Innovation’ Involving Repair, Maintenance Of Medical Equipment Critical In Developing Countries

The Guardian: The health care sector in the developing world needs frugal innovation
Grace Kane, graduate intern at Philips Africa Incubator of Research

“…The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 50 percent of [medical] equipment in the developing world is broken, meaning that half of it is being used to treat patients, and the other half is rusting in an ‘equipment graveyard’ somewhere in or near a hospital. Much of this broken equipment is the result of well-intentioned but poorly planned donations. Some is bought by hospitals at a low price from second-hand equipment brokers. … NGOs that provide a repair service would have a crucial advantage in the eyes of sponsors — by ensuring medical equipment keeps working they can guarantee donors more ‘bang for their buck.’ … Some NGOs already take this results-driven approach. Global Links, which provides mostly low-maintenance equipment and disposable devices, works with local governments to gather data on how its donations have improved health statistics, instead of just reporting how much it has donated. Getting more NGOs — and their funders — to think in this way would be crucial for making sure servicing becomes a standard part of equipment donation” (11/18).