By Jocelyn Brown and Kelly O’Connor
As interns from the Beyond Traditional Borders Initiative at Rice University, we demonstrated the capabilities of the Diagnostic Lab-in-a-Backpack to the Project Medishare team. The mission of the Beyond Traditional Borders Initiative is to foster the creation of globally appropriate health technologies that address the pressing health needs of the developing world.
The backpack contains necessary equipment, such as a microscope, centrifuge, and three charging options: a lithium ion battery, a solar panel, and an AC power adapter, for physicians to provide medical examinations and make prompt, accurate diagnoses in remote locations. The prototype has been in development for three years and is being continuously improved upon by a team of Rice University bioengineering students and faculty.
We instructed the Project Medishare team on how to use the various components of the backpack to their full potential. The team of physicians, nurses, and technicians showed great interest in incorporating this new technology into their medical work throughout the Central Plateau. One physician explained how the backpack would enable him to diagnose patients in isolated areas in a more efficient manner.
During the Marmont Integrated Community Development Program site visit with the United Nations and the Earth Institute, we had the opportunity to demonstrate the Diagnostic Lab-in-a-Backpack to conference attendees. Dr. Sonia Sachs and Project Medishare co-founder Dr. Arthur Fournier, while impressed with the current design, suggested the inclusion of additional components to increase the backpack’s capabilities.
Our program is honored to provide this technology to Project Medishare. It is our hope that Project Medishare will provide Beyond Traditional Borders with valuable feedback in order to further improve the design. We look forward to future collaboration with Project Medishare.
*Jocelyn and Kelly worked in Haiti for six weeks this summer. They served as interns for three weeks with Project Medishare in Thomonde. You can read more about their internship experiences at the Beyond Traditional Boarders blog site at http://www.owlsbeyondborders.rice.edu/.