Sustainable procurement of medical devices in an international context - Part 3 Assessment of local and lifelong use conditions

Main Article Content

Valerio Di Virgilio
Francisco Becerra Posada
Alexia Bouchard Saindon


Medical device procurement, sustainable procurement, technical specifications, local conditions, local capacities, lifetime use of MDs, total cost of ownership, health services in developing countries, quality assurance, sustainability, clinical engineer role, international health procurement, value-based procurement


Background and Objectives

This article is the third in a series of three manuscripts published in this journal. It aims to describe how sustainable procurement of medical devices (MDs) can be implemented in operational projects in the context of developing countries. It also further details how the biomedical/clinical engineer lead (BCEL) in charge of technical support during the MD procurement process can apply sustainability principles and concepts of value-based procurement.

Material and Methods

Based on the authors’ experience of more than 20 years in procurement projects and implementation of MDs, the role of the BCEL will be developed from a theoretical point of view with the description of the second and third pillars of a sustainable purchase following the needs assessment: the assessment of existing conditions along with local capacities and the evaluation of the use conditions during the lifetime of the medical equipment. The application of these principles in operational projects will be further discussed by analyzing literature and lessons learned from projects implemented in developing countries.


The BCEL has a key role in the sustainable procurement of MDs to design the technical specifications of the goods, related services, and post-sales conditions to maximize the benefit of the investment. As the specialist can analyze the local existing conditions and capacities while ensuring efficient use of the MDs during their lifespan, they can contribute to a sustainable implementation of MDs in developing countries.


The BCEL shall also be able to analyze the local and international markets to find all possible technological solutions that meet the needs, local conditions, and capacities and ensure quality use during the lifespan of the purchased MD. The BCEL shall have competencies in identifying all the risks related to the use of the MD from the safety risks linked to its installation, use, and maintenance to the sustainability risks linked to obtaining the conditions that guarantee the use of the device and maintaining them as long as possible. Examples of these conditions include the presence of qualified and trained users, availability of maintenance and consumable budgets, availability and maintenance of infrastructure conditions (access, electrical power, water, drainage, medical gasses, etc.), and last but not least, presence of patients requiring a diagnosis or treatment using the purchased MD who were identified during the evaluation of the first pillar: a sound needs assessment.


As an evolution of the BCEL’s traditional biomedical and clinical engineering work, he/she shall assume the responsibility to guarantee the sustainability of the MD purchase. This quality assurance and control role is achieved by a sound theoretical background knowledge based on the three sustainable procurement pillars: the needs, existing and lifetime use conditions assessments, the analysis of the local and international markets, and a broad understanding of sustainability risks.


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