There were early mornings, long days, and many kilometers covered. However at the end of the two-week biomedical repair and assessment visit last November by the TRIMEDX Foundation, plans were already being made to return to Sierra Leone.
The World Health Organization estimates that between 50-80 percent of medical equipment in low-income countries is not in working order. A top request from the health facilities we support is assistance in repairing medical equipment. Thanks to the TRIMEDX Foundation, whose mission is to address the international need for medical equipment repair and support, we were able to begin meeting this need.
Repair and assessments conducted
Working with the Christian Health Network of Sierra Leone (CHASL), ten facilities were visited. Four facilities were in the western area and the remaining six in the northern and southern provinces. The TRIMEDX Foundation team of three biomedical engineers was led by Sierra Leone native Moses Baryoh. Facility visits consisted of repair and assessments of non-working equipment and an inventory of all working equipment. A total of 334 pieces of equipment were inventoried, 140 assessed or repaired and 40 identified for follow-up.
Florence Bull, Health Coordinator at CHASL, said of the visit, “We want to express our gratitude for the tremendous sacrifice and input you’ve made to improve service delivery in our facilities.”
In addition to repairing and assessing the equipment, the TRIMEDX Foundation team provides training during the site visits. Noted Mr. Baryoh, “TRIMEDX Foundation commits to provide as much training as we can during our site visits. We want to leave skills behind like basic preventative maintenance practices and trouble shooting of frequently used equipment such as oxygen concentrators, autoclaves, patient monitors and blood pressure machines.”
TRIMEDX Foundation Tradition
Few individuals in Sierra Leone have training in biomedical equipment repair, however, at each facility all were eager to learn. David Mattia at Serabu Hospital was one such individual who impressed the team. Working at Serabu since 2009 David was ready for the teams’ arrival. He reviewed all the issues with the non-working equipment.
Throughout the day David and the TRIMEDX Foundation team worked on the equipment and conducted inventory. A TRIMEDX Foundation tradition is to leave behind a tool box. David was the recipient. He was very appreciative and said, “I will try very hard to make very good use of it.”
Due to the coronavirus, biomedical technician visits have been postponed in 2020. As soon as it is safe to travel, we will welcome TRIMEDX Foundation back to Sierra Leone. Facility managers are already asking, “when will the maintenance team visit us?”
Many thanks to TRIMEDX Foundation and your partnership in helping us strengthen the health system in Sierra Leone.