Innovation That Matters

3D-printing medical supplies on-demand in Haiti


iLab Haiti uses 3D printing to create on-demand resources for healthcare providers and community projects in a country still recovering from the 2010 earthquake.

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The massive earthquake which Haiti experienced three years ago hit the country incredibly hard, and that’s to say nothing of the poverty that already pervaded the country’s society. Vital community resources are often low, or missing altogether, especially when it comes to healthcare. Now a new project called iLab Haiti is hoping to use 3D printing to solve some of the country’s immediate needs.

The project has brought the first two MakerBots to the country and is now hoping to teach locals how to model 3D objects and repair and maintain the machines. Working with US-based community design group KIDMob, iLab is currently operating out of Haiti Communitere in Port-au-Prince and its first products are simple, single-use objects such as umbilical cord clamps. In an interview with NPR, the project’s Ashley Dara said that these items often run out in times where hospitals are overworked and surgical gloves are used instead, meaning nurses deliver babies without the necessary protection. With iLab’s 3D printers, these objects can be created quickly and on-demand.

iLab Haiti is looking to strike up partnerships with startups such as Filabot — which recycles everyday plastics into useable 3D printer filament — as well as looking to set up in other countries that could benefit from their training and resources. Are there other ways that 3D printing could be made accessible in emergency situations?



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