In today’s edition of the MedWrench blog, I want to share a brief Q&A I had with Boyd Campbell, CBET at Southeastern Biomedical Associates, Inc. concerning his recent mission trip to Togo West Africa. Southeastern Biomedical provides key services that help medical facilities of all types deliver efficient, cost-effective, quality medical technology management. They offer equipment sales, patient-ready accessory sales, equipment parts, skilled depot repair services and much more. Southeastern Biomedical Associates will be attending the MD Expo in Nashville on March 29-31. Be sure to drop by booth #416 to learn more about mission opportunities as well as their exciting new program of how you can obtain test equipment without using capital dollars. See below for the Q&A.
Did I hear correctly that you have recently been on a mission trip?
Yes, I just recently return from Togo West Africa which is actually the smallest and poorest country in Africa.
Where did you visit for your mission trip and what was the purpose of your trip?
While in Togo I had the privilege of working with two hospitals there. The first one was located in Mango Togo. This is a brand new mission hospital that just opened up March 2, 2015. For this facility, I went over to install all the medical equipment that had been donated and/or purchased. It was nice to be in on this from the beginning and to be able to configure things such as their monitoring system to their unique needs. For example, they may use the same bedside to monitor adults, peds, or neonates. After spending a week there I then proceeded almost 10 hours South to Tsiko to work with an existing mission hospital. This was my 4th visit to this one and while there I performed upgrades to their existing X-Ray room by installing new table (which was severely warped in shipment), collimator, wall bucky and the most exciting part a film processor. While this is old technology here in the states this was a welcomed addition since the only method they ever had for developing film was hand dipping and then taking them outside to hang up to dry.
How often do you partake in mission trips like this?
I typically make a trip annually. As I mentioned earlier this is my 4th trip to Togo but I have also previously been to Kenya and Southern India.
Is there a way for others in our industry to chip in and help?
ABSOLUTELY! There are several ways that others in our industry can help. First of all, anyone can help through donations of quality equipment. Many times I see what we refer to as “Junk for Jesus”. The attitude by many who send things over is that something is better than nothing….that is not really true though. It takes time and most importantly money to ship these items. On this particular trip there was an anesthesia machine that had been donated that was missing the ventilator and had massive leaks within the system itself. I have seen an old ventilator that had half of the circuit boards removed. Another way is by being a method of tech support. While over there I ran into a couple of items that had issues and needed some technical assistance since there are rarely any manuals for these devices. Couple that with being in an area where I was unable to get a phone call out, it was impossible to contact the mfg. tech support…if the items are still even supported. However, knowing people within the industry that may have knowledge about certain devices provided some much needed assistance. Lastly, if there are people who would be willing to go to these countries there are plenty of opportunities to do so. For the hospitals I am currently supporting I am the only biomed that they see and that is only once a year. Needless to say a lot can pile up in a year that needs repair.
Training staff on new monitors
X-Ray film drying
The new film processor