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Medical Devices, Biomedical Engineering, Healthcare Technology, Clinical Engineering, Appropriate Healthcare Technologies, Health Technology Management
Backgrounds and Objective: Advancements in technology have led to great strides in research and innovation that have improved healthcare provision around the world. However, the majority of the technology available is underutilized in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, the ever-increasing sophistication and cost of medical equipment means that access and proper use is limited in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). There is, however, a general paucity of well-documented evidence for the utilization of medical equipment in LMICs. Therefore, this study evaluates the current availability and utilization of medical equipment in tertiary hospitals and research facilities in Uganda and provides baseline information to clinical/biomedical engineers, innovators, managers, and policymakers.
Material and Methods: The study evaluated the equipment currently used in 9 purposively selected public tertiary hospitals and 5 research laboratories representing different regions of Uganda. Data were collected by personnel specialized in biomedical engineering utilizing a mixed-method approach that involved inventory taking and surveys directed to the health workers in the designated health facilities.
Results: The hospitals contributed 1995 (85%) pieces of medical equipment while the research laboratories contributed 343 (15%) pieces amounting to 2338 pieces of equipment involved in the study. On average, 34% of the medical equipment in the health facilities was faulty, and 85.6% lacked manuals.
Discussion and conclusion: Although innovative solutions and donated equipment address the immediate and long-term goals of resource-constrained settings, our study demonstrated several issues around existing medical devices, and these need immediate attention.