Five years on from the earthquake of 2010, Haiti has become a proving ground for a number of successful innovations that will shape humanitarian aid for years to come. Field Ready recently completed an important three-month trial in Port-au-Prince to demonstrate the potential of 3D printing of humanitarian supplies.
With funding from the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, Field Ready worked with a number of partners on the ground: Real Hope for Haiti, which operates a health clinic north of Port-au-Prince; Project Medishare, with activities in Port-au-Prince, and; critical support was provided by Haiti Communitere.
During the trial project, Field Ready assisted client beneficiaries with the products printed on-the-ground. This included TB patients, newly born babies and aid workers (by providing mosquito-net closures, tool holders and hooks as well as training). This resulted in, for example, a reduction in the risk of neo-natal umbilical sepsis, and more efficient (and safer) health worker work spaces and patient areas. With the additional items made, we also reduced the likelihood of mosquito-borne disease and enabled a clinic to consider alternative means of providing prosthetic hands for amputee patients.
Using different 3D printers and a range of software, we made and tested a range of medical disposables and other printed items. This included a total of 165 prints including prototypes, 21 print failures and 110 items distributed for use. While in Haiti, we also printed a unique prototype prosthetic hand (using just five parts), three items to repair/improve the printers (filament guides), butterfly needle holder, a prototype screwdriver, three prototype pipe clamps, two prototype bottles and a mock-up of the gas cylinder regulator, so that we could accurately test S-hooks. This assisted approximately 60 medical patients and a dozen aid workers.
Training was another way aid workers were engaged so that the skills and knowledge of 3D printing could be effectively passed on. During the project, Field Ready developed a framework for capacity-building and a basic training curriculum that was delivered this twice and trained 16 people in the process. The training included using basic CAD software and two types of printers (UP Mini and MakerBot Replicator). The training was geared for aid workers based in Haiti and took place at Haiti Communitere’s conference room in Port-au-Prince.
This trial demonstrated that useful and impactful medical supplies could be efficiently made in the field. Field Ready is expanding its efforts to replicate its approach worldwide, and into other sectors – such as shelter, water, sanitation, transportation/logistics and communications. Making humanitarian supplies in the field will result in much reduced procurement costs, saved time and lower risk. Field Ready is committed to working closely with other partners and sharing the knowledge we gain along the way.
For more on our work and to get involved in the Humanitarian Makers community, contact us through www.fieldready.org