‘Hacking’ medical equipment repair in war-torn Mosul
Following three years of occupation by ISIL and intense fighting to remove them, the healthcare system of the Northern Iraqi city of Mosul has been left in shambles. Many healthcare facilities were destroyed as they were used as safe havens, yet they face increasing demand as displaced population return to the region.
At the same time a community of young techies gathered to find ways to improve the lives of their compatriots through building the capacity for innovation and technology uptake, particularly among local youth. They have formed what is called Mosul Space,
Field Ready teamed up with Caritas Czech, which was looking for innovative projects in healthcare, to bring their experience fixing and making for healthcare systems in complex environments across the world to Mosul and Ninewah Governorate.
This project allowed Mosul Space to established a physical presence as the first makerspace in Mosul, not only proving immediate technical solutions to the healthcare sector, but also providing youth in Mosul with a safe place to gather, learn more about technology and innovation and to meet like-minded people.
Field Ready worked closely with the young engineers of Mosul space to build their skills in 3D modeling and 3D printing through intensive, tailored training and mentorship. As the rest of the makerspace is equipped in conjunction with Caritas Czech, Mosul Space staff and volunteers are learning about the full-range of workshop tools.
Most crucially this training included how to sensitively carry-out assessments in a health-center and identify the key items to fix or make which have a real impact on staff and patients. Field Ready's team in Syria and the Caritas' bio-medical engineer in Mosul combined experience is a valuable combination in kicking off this program and ensuring it starts on the rights note.
Hospital visits have only just begun, but already a hinge, a door and a door lock have been made to replace broken parts for a couple of different incubators (a common problem we have found across the globe) and an axle wheel stand for an ECG cart is under development.
Over the coming weeks and months, more visits will be made to health centers to scale this assistance. As we build health worker confidence by providing quick solutions to the first problems they bring to us, we expect to have many more repairs and new supplies developed.