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Locally Manufacturing Medical Supplies-How to Save Infants from Sepsis

Locally manufacturing umbilical cord clamps and medical disposables in humanitarian settings.

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“Something has to be done!” Dara Dotz thought as she learned that newborns received old shoe laces to clamp their freshly cut umbilical cords. While working in Haiti, Dotz spent time with Mave, a local nurse who specialized in labor and delivery at Hope for Haiti Clinic.

On a particularly busy day at the hospital, Mave used her last pair of rubber gloves to tie off the umbilical cord because there were no more clamps available. Not only did this put her at risk of contracting HIV, but by failing to use a proper and sanitary clamp, the newborn had a disproportionate chance of developing sepsis.

“I went to search for a better solution and luckily, I was able to find one” Dotz explained. She realized that she could locally manufacture umbilical cord clamps, and used a 3D printer to make enough clamps to equip Hope for Haiti Clinic. In merely six minutes one clamp can be printed while traditional procurement methods can take around 6 months to ship to Haiti.

Dotz learned about the number of births Mave was performing every day and how often times there were not enough supplies for the deliveries. According to the World Health Organization, roughly 287, 000 women die every year due to pregnancy and childbirth related complications and 2.9 million newborns die within the first month of life worldwide. Midwives are not only invaluable to maternal and infant health but imperative to our overall health systems.

It is vital for midwives to have the necessary supplies in order to deliver babies safely and effectively. Field Ready’s co-founder, Dara Dotz knows the plight of midwives lacking these basic necessaries all too well.

International experts suggest that improvised solutions are acceptable, however, that simply is not the case. Around 5% of infant deaths in Haiti were due to sepsis thorough the umbilical cord, thus taking this chance through improvised means should never be normalized.

This became the premise for the work that Field Ready does. “We’re developing our approach to addressing not just health challenges, but everything from water and sanitation to search and research,” Dotz reflects.

By locally manufacturing medical disposables, we are equipping nurses and midwives to be able to properly do their jobs and decrease the chances of infants developing sepsis or other preventable infections. By listening to the needs of nurses and midwives, we will drastically change the way that maternal health is fulfilled.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Listening to the needs of the populations you are working with will yield the best results. Through listening to the needs of health workers, better solutions will be achieved instead of going into a project with preconceived ideas or assumptions.

How does this research relate to our use cases and personas?

We equip healthcare workers with the supplies they need in order to do their jobs. Often times, in crisis settings and underdeveloped areas, medical professionals forgo necessary supplies due to scarcity, not only putting them at risk but also their patients. Through our work in Haiti, we saw that this can be remedied through locally manufacturing medical supplies, that are faster, better and cheaper than traditional procurement methods. This is vital for maternal and infant health.

Tell us about yourself:

I am a Program Officer at Field Ready, a humanitarian organization making, training and innovating locally manufactured supplies in health, WASH, S&R and other useful items.

Are you currently an employee of Sutter Health or UCB Pharmaceuticals?

  • No

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