Engineering for Healthcare Change: The Role of Biomedical Engineering in Global Health
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Monday, May 8, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Dr. Robert T. Ssekitoleko, MEng, EngD
Whereas global health is commonly used to refer to healthcare challenges facing low and middle income countries (LMICs), a number of these challenges are also experienced by high income countries (HICs). The burdens of infectious diseases have no boundaries and this more evident in epidemics such as Ebola and Marburg fever. Non-communicable diseases also create enormous challenges around the world and a collective global approach to the problems is needed. Practices in LMICs, for instance, are leading to a great global wave of anti-microbial resistance which presents a number of difficult questions. Notwithstanding the shared global health challenges, LMICs face specific context based challenges especially with appropriate management of medical equipment. A number of these challenges require multi-disciplinary, multilevel approaches. The lack of spares, appropriate devices for example is caused about by absence of skilled technicians in combination with weak policies or lack of their proper implementation. A biomedical engineer in a LMIC has the task of building capacity but also keeping a keen eye on developing appropriate innovative solutions and technologies especially through international collaborations. These solutions can incorporate areas such as management of donations; working on a very low budget among others. This paper discusses the key role a biomedical engineer can play in improving healthcare systems in LMICs.