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Extreme Biomedical Engineering (Western Africa)

Taylor, Kevin MScEng; Mullally, Shauna MASc; Osmond, Doug; Nyassi, Ebrima; Gassama, Lamin; Manneh, Edrissa; Gomez, Anthony; Jatta, Marcel

Journal of Clinical Engineering: April-June 2009 - Volume 34 - Issue 2 - p 89-93
doi: 10.1097/JCE.0b013e31819fd58d
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Can a micromodeled health technology management system designed for a harsh and isolated environment of the Canadian Northwest Territories be transferred in a sustainable way to West Africa? Even more, can the program take the next step and actually take on more scope of responsibility than many well-established Western programs (eg, full in-house support of high-level laboratory technology and radiology technology)? From polar bears, ice roads on the Arctic Ocean, and −50 °C to monitor lizards, African roads, and greater than 38 °C, this is extreme biomedical engineering. In the past 4 years, the United Kingdom's Medical Research Council Laboratories in The Gambia, West Africa, has transformed a group of 3 junior electronic assistants repairing only very minor equipment out of one-third of a modified shipping container into a full biomedical technology management program that supports complex laboratory and diagnostic imaging technologies "in-house" with a staff of 10 and significant resources.

Can a micromodeled health technology management system designed for a harsh and isolated environment of the Canadian Northwest Territories be transferred in a sustainable way to West Africa? Even more, can the program take the next step and actually take on more scope of responsibility than many well-established Western programs (eg, full in-house support of high-level laboratory technology and radiology technology)? From polar bears, ice roads on the Arctic Ocean, and -50 °C to monitor lizards, African roads, and greater than 38 °C, this is extreme biomedical engineering. In the past 4 years, the United Kingdom's Medical Research Council Laboratories in The Gambia, West Africa, has transformed a group of 3 junior electronic assistants repairing only very minor equipment out of one-third of a modified shipping container into a full biomedical technology management program that supports complex laboratory and diagnostic imaging technologies "in-house" with a staff of 10 and significant resources.

From the Medical Research Council Laboratories, The Gambia.

Corresponding author: Shauna Mullally, MASc, Biomedical Engineering, Medical Research Council Laboratories, PO Box 273, Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa. smullally@mrc.gm

Kevin Taylor, MScEng, is the acting scientific administrator and past Head of Biomedical Engineering.

Shauna Mullally, MASc, is the current head of biomedical engineering.

Doug Osmond, is acting as the team's chief biomedical engineering technologist on a 6 month capacity development contract.

Ebrima Nyassi, is the team's senior biomedical engineering technologist.

Lamin Gassama, is the team's biomedical engineering technologist (electronic).

Edrissa Manneh, is the team's biomedical engineering technologist (infrastracture).

Anthony Gomez, is the team's assistant biomedical engineering technologist (electronic).

Marcel Jatta, is the team's assistant biomedical engineering technologist (infrastracture).

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.