3-Dimensional Printing and Bio-Based Materials in Global Health: an Interventional Approach to Addressing Healthcare Disparities in Low and Middle-Income Countries
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CitationRamadurai, Krish William. 2017. 3-Dimensional Printing and Bio-Based Materials in Global Health: an Interventional Approach to Addressing Healthcare Disparities in Low and Middle-Income Countries. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractApproximately 2 billion people in developing countries around the world lack access to essential surgical care and services, resulting in the avertable deaths of over 1.5 million individuals each year. These startling statistics reveal a hidden notion and key premise, this being “avertable deaths.” These are deaths that could easily be adverted by garnering access to adequately equipped healthcare facilities that can provide provisional surgical care. Upon further examination, a fundamental barrier that inhibits access to surgical care is the lack of basic surgical instruments and supplies in healthcare facilities in developing countries. Without access to the most essential and basic surgical instruments and supplies, these facilities are extremely limited in their respective interventional scope and capacity to provide adequate surgical care. Upon reflection of this pertinent problem, a functional, yet dynamic solution must be improvised that is rooted in feasibility, this being 3-dimensional printing. The deployment of low-cost 3-dimensional printing technologies in developing countries could revolutionize the distribution and manufacture of surgical instruments in district-level healthcare facilities. While previous research has focused upon the applications of 3-dimensional printing materials for biological scaffolds or implants, limited research has examined the fabrication of simple, yet essential surgical instruments that are often in short supply in developing countries. Critical surgical instruments could be manufactured with sustainable, bio-based plastic materials at a fraction of the cost of conventional stainless steel medical supplies. Introduction of this new interventional approach could radically alter the current surgical care paradigm that is faced today and potentially save the lives of millions of individuals that die each year from preventable conditions.
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