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Biomedical Equipment and Engineering Training

Baptist Medical Centre, Ogbomoso

Project Currently Underway

Project Managers: Dr. Timothy Awotunde and Elaine Orr

Segun Ogunlana (at left) testing an esophagoduodenoscope


For the latest update on the bio medical engineering project click here.

The Baptist Medical Centre in Ogbomoso is working with NFW on a project to improve their biomedical equipment and provide advanced training for their biomed technicians. The project was requested in 2007 by medical director Dr. Timothy Awotunde.  He oversees a hospital that is in the process of becoming a university teaching hospital and is implementing a new Intensive Care Unit in a city of over one million people.

Joseph Edowhorhu checking a power dip
Joseph Edowhorhu checking a power dip

The purpose is to create an environment in which equipment is selected and maintained in ways that are appropriate to the climate and availability of parts in Africa, with an ultimate goal of making the hospital self-sustaining in biomedical equipment maintenance.  According to former missionary Dr. John Tarpley of Vanderbilt University, one of the most important needs at under-resourced hospitals in developing countries is qualified biomedical engineers who can maintain and repair sophisticated electrical equipment.

NFW consulted with Dr. Bob Malkin and Dr. Frank Webb of Engineering World Health (EWH) at Duke University in the search for a well-qualified, Africa-based teaching

Rob Dickinson, Joseph Edowhorhu, and Segun Ogunlana.
Rob Dickinson, Joseph Edowhorhu, and Segun Ogunlana.

technician to help with this project. Providentially, the search led to Rob Dickinson of Durban, South Africa, who is regarded by EWH as their best technician worldwide bar none.

A two-strategy approach was chosen to achieve a sustainable biomedical engineering program for the hospital.  One aspect of the project is a series of four visits to the hospital by Mr. Dickinson to evaluate and repair existing equipment, and begin training selected hospital staff in a comprehensive preventive maintenance program.  The visits will include hands-on training, instruction in how to maintain equipment in less-developed settings, obtaining

  (left) From left, Joseph Edowhorhu, an anesthetist, and Segun Ogunlana taking in-service lessons on an anesthesia machine.
(left) From left, Joseph Edowhorhu, an anesthetist, and Segun Ogunlana taking in-service lessons on an anesthesia machine.

parts from sources within Africa, and obtaining the necessary tools and manuals.  Following these visits, which are estimated to continue through 2010, Mr. Dickinson will continue with a year of consulting by internet and telephone.

The other aspect of the project is advanced biomedical training at Valley View University near Accra, Ghana.  Dr. Awotunde and his director of maintenance and engineering, Joseph Edowhorhu, have participated in two conferences in Ghana on healthcare technology management.  A pair of hospital biomed technicians, Segun Ogunlana and John Aiyes, completed two months’ training in medical equipment technology in 2009, and returned in 2010 for additional courses and professional certification.  NFW worked with another group that financed the training in Ghana.

Both these aspects of the project have been completed with the biomedical staff and equipment functioning more effectively as a result.  This project has now been extended and Rob Dickinson will be making at least two more training trips to the hospital in the next year.