Biomedical technology is imperative in the needs of a fully functioning hospital. Nearly 80% of medical equipment in low-income countries are donated, and the majority of the equipment does not work. Most hospitals do not have the technicians to fix them. As a result, equipment stays broken and doctors are without the tools they need to provide lifesaving care.
Without working medical equipment, clinicians cannot care for their patients. In 2016, Health Equity International took a huge step forward in solving the chronic problem of broken and malfunctioning medical equipment in Haiti by starting a biomedical engineering technician training program, known as the REPARE Program.
The REPARE Program is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and is in a partnership with the GE Foundation and WK Kellogg Foundation. The program trains Haitians professionals to repair and maintain biomedical equipment and support their clinician colleagues. After a year of intensive training at St. Boniface Hospital, REPARE trainees are placed hospitals across Haiti, strengthening the country’s overall capacity to keep biomedical equipment in good repair.
As the majority of Haitians are subsistence farmers who live on less than $2 per day, professional training to become a biomedical equipment technician offers opportunity for greater job security and economic stability than is typically available in Haiti. The REPARE program also trains Haitian clinicians on how to properly use biomedical equipment, as clinicians often do not have the training to use every piece of equipment they may encounter. These trainings help to reduce equipment user error and accidental breakage.
The REPARE program is run by SBH’s Chief Biomedical Engineering Technician, Tom Monaghan. To date, the program has provided vocational training to seven new biomedical technicians and provided supplemental training to over 90 Haitian medical professionals throughout the country.