A Pilot of 3D Printing of Medical Devices in Haiti
3D printers are small-scale manufacturing facilities in a box. With minimal resources, they enable rapid on-demand production. Cost-effective complex products are made when needed with decreased transportation, storage, and customs costs. The immediate access to medical devices created by 3D printing reduces uncertainty and delivery delays. This paper introduces a pilot project to collaborate with local clinicians and design medical devices with a 3D printer in Haiti. The pilot aimed to empirically ascertain whether locally engaged staff could implement 3D printing of medical devices. This process may be replicated globally and brought to other areas of need. On multiple occasions, we visited three healthcare delivery sites in Haiti. By observing and interviewing medical staff, we identified high-demand supplies with the potential for 3D printed fabrication. We also identified equipments not used due to broken parts that could be easily fabricated. In collaboration with local clinicians, we developed a list of 16 3D printable objects to meet the localized demand in real time. 3DPforHealth launched a 3D printing lab in Haiti and trained local people in design using the Makerbot Rep 1 printers. To demonstrate 3D printing medical application, we collaboratively designed an umbilical cord clamp prototype. Variants of the clamp design were iteratively tested to assure durability and efficacy of grip on multiple materials. The process identified initial concerns of printing medical devices including sanitation, product longevity, reuse of retired materials for new product development, and parameters for responsible human trials. Initial trials demonstrate proof of concept for identification and 3D printed production of much-needed medical devices by collaborating with local clinicians. Further, we were able to train local people in 3D printing design. In recent months, 3DPforHealth has been absorbed into a larger initiative for disaster response manufacturing known as Field Ready (http://www.fieldready.org). We envision Field Ready as a replicable model for countries struggling with similar challenges. Field Ready is now a program that designs solutions that are shared with other resource-constrained environments, bypassing infrastructure and distribution limitations globally.
KeywordsMedical Device International Space Station Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene Local Clinician Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
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