Three years after the war in the Gaza Strip and it is still left in ruins today. The war has left many without a home, power, water, and has made medical equipment scarce. Those that have been injured or fallen ill struggle to survive. While it may be easy for others to obtain medical supplies in other countries, it isn’t so simple at Gaza Strip’s largest hospital called Al-Shifa. With only one or two stethoscopes in each department, most of the doctors are left pressing their ears against patients’ chests in order to properly diagnose them. However, there are certain diagnosis like hearing a patients’ lungs filled with blood that can be difficult to hear without a stethoscope.
To provide a solution to this problem, Canadian Dr. Tarek Loubani is working with the Glia medical project to use 3D printers to provide medical supplies. Using self-built 3D printers from inside Gaza, Dr. Loubani and the Glia medical project can create low-cost but high quality medical equipment that is necessary for the doctors to help their patients. This project is free and open sourced to those that need it. Dr. Loubani’s first project was designing a stethoscope for the hospital. Once he had printed and tested it, he found that his 3D printed stethoscope was just as effective as those that are high priced. Although it is constantly being refined and updated, the stl files can be accessed here.
Components for air ionisers and ozone generators were designed by Mohammed Abu Matar, a member of the Glia project. These two instruments are necessary to remove airborne bacteria and sterilize surgical instruments. Other equipment are needed at the hospital such as MRIs, CT scanners, and oximeters. These items are scarce and are not being allowed into Gaza by Israel’s fear that some of the medical items can be used for military purposes. However, this isn’t stopping the Glia project from assembling their own 3D printers out of spare parts and open sourced designs. As filament is not readily available, Matar created his own filament using plastic pellets.
This led to the development of Gaza’s first 3D printing company called Tashkeel 3D. Working on advancing 3D printing, the Glia project hopes to assemble more machines made out of spare and printed parts. Doing this will not only help aid Gaza’s medical supply scarcity, but also provide a brighter future for Gaza. The story about medical supplies being produced by 3D printers may have not been publicized as much as the war in Gaza has in the past years, but it is made a lasting impact. It provides hope in a place of ruins and devastation. As Ellen Degeneres says at the end of every show, “Be kind to one another.”
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Gadzo, M. (2017, September 05). Using 3D printers to tackle Gaza’s medical shortages. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/06/3d-printers-tackle-gaza-medical-shortages-170627095337106.html Haria, R., Clarke, C., Jackson, B., Printing, T. F., Khorajiya, T., Petch, M., & Armstrong, K. (2017, August 26). Self-assembled 3D printers produce essential medical supplies in Gaza. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from https://3dprintingindustry.com/news/self-assembled-3d-printers-produce-essential-medical-supplies-gaza-120900/