As any healthcare technology company knows, medical equipment is often only as effective as the service it receives – from daily maintenance to timely repairs to ongoing technical support for its users. And as any medical technology company working in low-resource settings knows, this kind of service is typically hard to come by.
It is for this reason that Gradian has invested in training and certifying local biomedical equipment technicians (BMETs) to become valuable members of our team. These on-the-ground service professionals are integral to ensuring that our machines are always in working order, harnessing their technical savvy and entrepreneurial spirit to preserve equipment that, in turn, can preserve life.
Despite their crucial role in maintaining medical equipment, BMETs receive little attention as the frontline health workers that they are. When we think of “health workers,” our minds tend to focus on clinical care providers who rely on medicines, supplies and equipment to deliver care, rarely extending to the technicians who often make that care possible. Because of that, BMETs are frequently overlooked in global goal-setting, national policymaking and health programming, leaving a shortage of educational opportunities and funding support that would otherwise strengthen a health worker’s capacity.
This week, we teamed up with THET to help change that paradigm. At the WHO’s 3rd Global Forum on Medical Devices, we hosted a workshop that enlisted medical equipment experts to refine the ways in which BMETs can contribute to the various needs around medical equipment – from procurement to training to general upkeep.
We focused the workshop on the healthcare technology management lifecycle and the specific roles and responsibilities that BMETs could undertake to strengthen the medical equipment landscape in low-resource settings. We received fantastic input from the participants, who helped us chart out the points at which BMETs can contribute, prioritizing training and recognition as major areas for additional support.
Our goal is to use this feedback to inform policies and mobilize actors to fully integrate BMETs into health systems; and the Medical Device Forum workshop was just the start of a conversation. Stay tuned for more updates on this work, and feel free to get in touch if you want to contribute to the effort!
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