Improving Surgical and Obstetric Care in Zambia Through Reliable Anesthesia Technology and Specialized Training

Organization: 
Gradian Health Systems
Organization Location: 
New York, New York, USA
Project Location: 
Zambia

Zambia faces a difficult environment for providing critical obstetric services: 80% of Zambians live 2+ hours from surgical and obstetric care, only 22% of the country has access to reliable electricity, there’s a sparse physician population in rural areas, and there is a poor supply of medical oxygen. Gradian proposes to equip all 33 hospitals in 4 Zambian provinces with appropriate technology to deliver anesthesia in any setting – even without power and oxygen. The project will also use complementary donor funding and partnerships with local institutions to administer specialized trainings for anesthesia providers and biomedical technicians in each region. The sustainability of this project is rooted in Gradian’s multi-year warranty led by Zambian technicians, local ownership of trainings, ongoing evaluation, and a commercialization strategy to scale this approach throughout Zambia.

Donated, broken or inappropriately designed medical equipment is the status quo in LMICs: Up to 80% is donated rather than designed for the end user; more than 1/3 of devices are out-of-use; they rarely come with user training and local maintenance; and few manufacturers have in-country distribution networks to scale a device with these factors in mind. Gradian believes they have the technology and business model to improve this status quo. Their Universal Anaesthesia Machine (UAM) was built to be infrastructure-agnostic to work in any setting, and they have local support networks to maintain it and train its users. Building on their 4-year experience in Zambia and regional training infrastructure, Gradian will scale the UAM in Zambia and ensure that its users are sufficiently trained, which will strengthen surgical and obstetric care, ultimately improving maternal and newborn health.

See video