The Maker Movement for maternal, newborn and child health is a project which draws on local skills and expertise to tackle the critical shortage of working medical equipment in hospitals in Kenya. Through a partnership between the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta National Hospital, university engineers and students are teaming up with maternity ward doctors, nurses, and biomedical engineers to design high-quality, affordable medical devices better suited for local needs.
From the initial nine devices found to be most needed, the project prioritised and designed three: an examination light, a suction machine to remove fluids from a newborn’s airways and a phototherapy machine for treating newborns with jaundice. After developing and refining multiple versions of the suction machine, the Kenya Bureau of Standards approved it for testing in a clinical setting. The project also provided a calibration centre for repairing hospital devices and a brand new lab on campus stocked with equipment for designing and prototyping devices.
The Maker Movement’s success since its 2014 launch has led to a new partnership between Concern Worldwide, UNICEF, the Philips Foundation and Gearbox. This partnership is called the Maternal and Newborn Health Innovations Project.