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Saving Lives Through Locally Designed Equipment

Kenya stands among the top ten countries with the highest numbers of women dying from pregnancy and childbirth complications. A critical shortage of working medical equipment is one reason why so many women and babies cannot receive the health care services they need for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth, resulting in needless deaths.
Concern Worldwide
Community engagement, Capability development
Public health

Because of the shortages and the sheer volume of patients, vital equipment like oxygen machines and incubators are being overused and are breaking down. Often, because spare parts are hard to come by, the expensive and usually imported devices are never fully repaired or remain broken altogether.

ThinkPlace facilitated workshops to introduce human-centered design principles to the 'Maker Hub' which was an initiative with Concern Worldwide, Kenyatta Hospital   – an initiative focused on collaboration to save lives through locally designed equipment as well as having an embedded resource to offer support for part of the project.

This hub engages makers, innovators, designers and Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) practitioners to build equipment to meet MNCH clinical needs. Its aim is to develop a model for producing cost-effective and locally produced parts and equipment to fill gaps in equipment provision in Kenya. Additionally, each piece of equipment will potentially generate a business case and model for a social enterprise to be developed and scaled for further impact and sustainability locally.

What Inspired This
<p>The Maker project concept was inspired by innovative idea-generating workshops with participants from sectors ranging from small and medium business owners in Malawi to community women, tribal leaders and service providers in India. Their input centered not only on the need for greater local control over equipment and supplies, but also on alternative, low cost, "do it yourself" solutions as well as collaboration between unusual partners. </p>