EWH Summer 2011 - Central America Blog

Background and Mission of EWH:

"Engineering World Health inspires and mobilizes the biomedical engineering community to improve the quality of health care in vulnerable communities of the developing world. We achieve our mission through innovation and effective alliances with great partners."
Engineering World Health is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare on a global scale through the mobilization of the biomedical engineering community and programs such as the summer institut
Each year, in partnership with Duke University, Engineering World Health hosts a summer institute in which undergraduate and graduate students apply and are selected to participate in a two-month long journey of learning how to repair biomedical equipment of all sorts and physically repairing equipment  in selected hosts hospitals in either Central America or Africa. This program gives these students the opportunity to experience the nature of healthcare systems globally and give the most valuable gift of knowledge and time. Since its inception, hundreds of students in EWH summer programs have worked on thousands of pieces of equipment, placing nearly 70% of that equipment back into service.  In 2010 alone over 500 pieces of equipment were placed back into service. That represents nearly $1,086,000.00 worth of equipment, enabling diagnostic and treatment procedures that will benefit thousands of patients of all ages. Each student is encouraged to embrace the new found culture and embark on a "secondary assignment" which utilizes their own personal talents and abilities that would further help these people.
Out of the hundreds of applicants each year, 50 are selected to participate in either the June-July Central America program or the July-August Africa program. For more information about EWH or the Summer Institute, visit their national website at www.ewh.org.

Engineering World Health (EWH)-Duke Summer Institute

Central America 2011 

The Central America Program starts June 1st in San Jose, Costa Rica and ends in Tegucigalpa, Honduras July 31st. Below are the details of the program, included updated details about my personal agenda:
  • Wednesday, June 1st : Arrive at San Jose, Costa Rica
            We will be greeted by our coordinators where we will be directed to the ALE Language School and later meet up with our homestays
  • Thursday, June 2nd -Thursday, June 30th : First Official Day and schedule for the next month
            First Day Schedule:
            9:30 am  Placement exams for Spanish
            10:00-11:00 am Orientation to EWH
            11:00-12:00 Orientation to San Jose and Costa Rica
            12:00-1:00 Lunch break
            1:00-2:00 Introduction to Medical Equipment
            2:00-5:00 Troubleshoot/Repair Medical Equipment Laboratory
          Monday-Thursday Schedule :
           8:15 am - 12:00 pm Spanish Lessons
           12:00 - 1:00 pm Lunch break
           1:00 - 2:00 pm Introduction to Medical Equipment
           2:00 - 5:00 pm Troubleshoot/Repair Medical Equipment Laboratory

            Fridays: Work in nearby host hospital
  • Saturday, June 4th: Social Event/River Rafting Expedition
  • Saturday, July 2nd:  Beginning of the 2nd half of the program
    Fly to Honduras with On-The-Ground-Coordinator (Julien B.) with Partner and other participants and travel to host city (Coxen Hole, Honduras or nearby)
  • Monday, July 4th - Friday July 29th : Working in Host Hospital (Public Hospital of Roatan in Coxen Hole, Honduras
      Monday, July 4th 8:30 am - First Meeting at Hospital to get introduced to staff, the equipment, and build a plan
  • Saturday, July 30th - Sunday, July 31st : End-of-Program Conference in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

My assignment July 2nd - July 30th

For the second month of this 2 month-long project, I will be working with my partner at the Public Hospital of Roatan in Coxen Hole, Honduras. Here are some brief details about the current conditions of the hospital:
  1. Publically funded by national and local government
  2. It is located in Roatan, one of the three Bay Islands lying to the north of the mainland Honduras
  3. The hospital has 33 beds and 2 operating rooms
  4. The hospital sees approximately 1000 patients in a typical month and they annually treat 40,000 patients on an out-patient basis

The actual city of Coxen Hole is located on an island north of the mainland of Honduras in the city of Roatan. It lies in the Caribbean Sea  and though the official language of Honduras is Spanish, the most common language spoken on Roatan is Caribbean English. In the area we are staying, we are informed that Spanish is predominantly spoken if not being the only language spoken. Throughout the duration of my stay, I am taking on the challenge of a "secondary assignment" recommended by the directors of EWH. This way, we can personally contribute our strengths and passion beyond the objective of the program and build ourselves as human beings. For more information on my project and how you can help, follow me on the tab marked "Personal Project".

Goals Set; Goals to be achieved

Month 1 Assignment : Costa Rica -Training
  • Master conversational and literal Spanish to accomplish secondary assignment
  • Expand my knowledge of Biomedical Engineering and the process of repairing medical equipment
  • Build creative techniques for repairs based on resources
  • Understand the culture and learn how to best communicate with the locals

Month 2 Assignment : Public Hospital of Roatan Coxen Hole, Honduras
•          Solicit technical support for the equipment through donations of needed parts such as resistors, transistors, bulbs, etc.
•          Create a resource bank of materials for the staff to use and build upon
•          Set-up systems for routine maintenance checks
•          Develop a key priorities “to do” list for technicians

Funding for this program and how you can sponsor my participation!

The tuition costs of this program is $6,700.00 which includes:
  • Tuition:  $4700 
  • Equipment & Supplies:   $700
  • Travel (transportation, housing, meals) : $1300

Outside of those expenses, there are the following expenses :
  • Travel from home to Costa Rica and from Tegucigalpa, Honduras back home
  • Meals for the second month of stay
  • Travel Vaccinations, Medications, and Arrival/Departure Taxes

I am blessed to say I was able to receive sponsorship, donations, and contributions amounting to $6700.00. Unfortunately, I am leftover with $3500.00 leftover unpaid. If you would like to donate or sponsor my participation in this wonderful experience, please donate using the link below through paypal. If you would like to donate through other means or just would like more information about the program and what I will be doing, please feel free to fill out a contact form below linked directly to my email.

Thank you!

    Message to the Author!