Wednesday, July 22, 2015

End of first month: Fixin' more stuff

Hello! Sorry for the late update, I have now moved to Machame Lutheran Hospital on the side of Kilimanjaro and internet has been sketchy here. Before I get into my new adventures, I wanted to share some of my thoughts from my first month in Tanzania.

 "Sometimes you have it, sometimes you don't" I've found that this is a phrase which embodies many things in Tanzania: medicine, electricity and medical devices to name a few. During my 1 month at the EWH: Summer Institute I have have leaned a great many engineering skills, more importantly I better comprehend that a good infrastructure is what makes or breaks your system. Looking at the lowest level, when we were at Mt. Meru hospital for our weekly engineering escapades, I always noticed the gravel roads and spread-out layout of the buildings. I also noted a large number of things with wheels (carts, stretchers, wheelchairs etc) that were piled up in what I called the "medical devices graveyard" AKA the storage room. After the third and final trip I realized there was a correlation between these two things. Due to the unstable ground, the devices needed to move things or people around were breaking. This in turn led to more hassle because these devices were sorely needed for such a spread out hospital. Literally unstable framework of the system was hurting itself. 

As an engineer there is not much immediate action I can take to fix this but I have to be able to recognize the holes in the infrastructure and be able to work around it. Don't have electricity in this room? Get your self a power cord, maybe even a couple. Don't have a manual? Check the Internet and if no luck be extra careful opening the machine with step by step pictures of the process ( and keep track of your screws!). It's been a busy first month but I'm excited to continue with my new knowledge of how medical devices and medical system work in a developing country. Below are some past pictures of my work at Mt. Meru hospital.

This is the room that I posted in an earlier post, it has now been organized! While I suspect it will be filled with more junk, it was a very satisfying project.
Here is a picture of a suction pump we revived! Luckily the motor was still good and it just needed new tubing.
Be on the lookout for more posts about my time in Machame!

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