Launching the First Digital Catalogue for Making Basic Medical Equipment in the Field
Field Ready’s vision aims to diminish and eventually eliminate long, costly procurement procedures by ensuring that aid agencies can simply make what is needed, when it is needed, where it is needed. This is particularly important for Health Posts, small medical centres which provide a first point of care for people in remote areas.
At present, aid agencies run needs assessments at target Health Posts to identify key equipment needs. With the day-to-day challenges of procurement, this process can take 2-3 months from the initial assessment to the Health Posts actually receiving supplies. Additionally, not all the equipment distributed is used on a one-time basis – items like tweezers, stethoscopes and forceps need replacing, and more complex equipment may break and need spare parts.
To tackle these issues, Field Ready is taking the first steps in creating a digital catalogue. Here, 3D models of tried and tested models would be available online, ready to be digitally manufactured using machines like 3D printers, CNC mills and small scale injection moulders.
3D printers are fast becoming an essential tool for humanitarian aid workers, as well as a tool more commonly used for small businesses and community workshops. In a few years’ time, we see aid agencies able to eliminate the 2-3 month procurement loop for a wide range of products.
It is a lot quicker to send a digital file to a local machine than it is a to send a physical product to a local Health Post. Moreover, it becomes affordable for the Health Post to replace that single product as needed, rather than relying on aid agencies’ economies of scale.
In a recent project with World Vision, Field Ready is working on designs for tweezers, cheatle forceps, glove hooks, otoscopes, kidney trays, stethoscopes and fetoscopes. These are available on www.thingiverse.com at http://www.thingiverse.com/Field_Ready/collections/fieldready/.