Diamedica: innovating equipment for challenging environments

Diamedica: innovating equipment for challenging environments

Diamedica: innovating equipment for challenging environments

Imagine trying to provide anaesthesia in an impoverished operating theatre with frequent power cuts, unreliable oxygen and few trained staff. This an everyday challenge for anaesthetists in low-income countries. A third to three-quarters of hospitals in low-resource settings do not have constant access to electricity, running water, oxygen or other equipment. In such situations, most contemporary anaesthetic equipment does not function for very long.

Diamedica (UK) Ltd specialise in designing innovative medical equipment that can overcome the problems of working in difficult locations. We are the market leader in anaesthesia equipment for challenging environments and we produce a range of affordable products for use in humanitarian emergencies and developing world hospitals.

The company is most widely known for the award-winning Glostavent® anaesthetic machine that delivers safe inhalation anaesthesia in any hostile location, with or without electricity or compressed gases. We estimate it has been used in for more than 3 million operations, the majority to enable essential surgery in low-resources settings, many of which may not have been possible without the Glostavent.

Photo: Managing Director Robert Neighbour installing new Glostavent anaesthesia machines in Ghana.

Photo: Managing Director Robert Neighbour installing new Glostavent anaesthesia machines in Ghana.

 

Today our product range includes anaesthesia, intensive care, pain management, oxygen supply and storage, and monitoring. More recently we have developed a range of portable equipment that can be easily carried into disaster or conflict zones, to provide anaesthesia and ventilation wherever it is needed. Many of our products are unique and all are designed to function effectively where first world infrastructure is lacking. The company has an enviable track record of innovation awards.

 

Our hands-on approach

Diamedica do more than just manufacture equipment. We provide support every step of the way, from the initial selection of equipment and shipping to over 65 countries worldwide, to installation and training at the destination hospital.

 

Training

Training is a fundamental part of the service Diamedica provide. It is important to us that users know how to maximise the potential of our equipment, safely and economically. We train medical and technical personnel in both how to use the equipment and how to maintain it in the field.

Training options are numerous, including arranging individualised training for customers in country; holding our own training days in the UK; teaching on independent courses around the world and giving hands-on demonstrations and training at international exhibitions and conferences.

Diamedica is the only commercial company regularly invited to teach on developing world anaesthesia courses that prepare medics planning to travel overseas to work in developing countries, where they will invariably find themselves working in utterly different conditions to those they are used to. We provide practical instruction on the type of equipment likely to be encountered in low-resource settings, how to use it safely and how to solve problems in the field with limited resources.

Photo: Getting to grips with Diamedica equipment on a training day

Photo: Getting to grips with Diamedica equipment on a training day

 

Charity collaborations

The special nature of our equipment means that many customers are charities who provide medical aid to low-income countries and emergency relief to those caught up in disasters. Diamedica is proud to work alongside these organisations and we often collaborate on projects to ensure that anaesthesia is available to those in need.

We supply numerous charities that provide surgical training and treatments in the developing world for conditions such as obstetric fistula, cleft lip and palate, burns, traumas, and maternal difficulties such as obstructed labour.

Charities that equip and refurbish hospitals in low-income countries supply our equipment, as they know it will be suitable for the location, easy for local staff to operate and maintain, and good value for money. All Diamedica equipment is designed to have low running costs, so low-resourced hospitals can afford to operate and maintain it.

For example, the charity International Organisation for Women and Development (IOWD) selected the Glostavent anaesthesia machine as being ideal for the locations they work in, where resources are limited and power failures frequent. The IOWD provide free fistula repair surgery and medical training in Niger and Rwanda. Obstetric fistula affects around 2 million women in Africa and Asia, often devastating their lives. In preparation for the IOWD surgical mission, Diamedica engineers installed the Glostavent at Kibagabaga Hospital in Kigali and trained staff to operate and maintain it. Subsequently, the team of IOWD volunteers arrived to conduct life-changing fistula repair surgery for patients and medical training for the Rwandan staff. Further collaboration is now underway to equip a new operating theatre and install paediatric intensive care equipment at Kibagabaga.

 

Photo: The Glostavent provides reliable anaesthesia for fistula repair surgery in Rwanda

Photo: The Glostavent provides reliable anaesthesia for fistula repair surgery in Rwanda

 

Our engineers travel extensively, visiting hospitals to provide training and listening to feedback from the staff. We make every effort to keep equipment working for as long as possible and it is our policy to provide technical assistance for our equipment for the lifetime of the product. No hospital or organisation is considered too small or too remote to warrant a visit and no problem considered too large or too trivial to warrant attention. On our travels we inevitably encounter hospitals in need of equipment and whenever possible we try to match their needs with suitable donor charities.

On a visit to Somaliland to supply equipment and training at the Borama National Fistula Hospital, MD Robert Neighbour was taken to other nearby hospitals to meet local staff. Somaliland is incredibly poor and still struggling to rebuild its healthcare system destroyed by civil war. The country’s huge unmet need for appropriate anaesthetic equipment was tragically clear. Following this visit, Diamedica successfully secured donations of a further 3 Glostavent machines for the hospitals Robert had visited, thanks to collaborations with the charities Safe Anaesthesia Worldwide, DAK Foundation and Rotary Australia.

Diamedica have teamed up with many charities over the years and our equipment can be found working in some of the most hostile locations on the planet, from Afghanistan to Zambia and Syria to Sudan.

Photo: The Glostavent in use to enable surgery in Afghanistan

Photo: The Glostavent in use to enable surgery in Afghanistan

 

Emergency response

Diamedica is an approved supplier for many international NGOs and humanitarian aid organisations that use our products successfully around the world. The company is available 24/7 for 365 days a year as customers rely on our ability to respond immediately and effectively to emergency and disaster situations.

Many countries now have emergency response teams and we supply them with portable equipment that is suitable for use in field hospitals. For example, Diamedica Portable Anaesthetic machines (DPAs) enabled emergency surgeries for patients injured in the earthquake in Haiti and Nepal and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, where local facilities had been destroyed.

Photo: A Diamedica portable anaesthesia machine in use by an emergency response team in a mobile hospital following the typhoon in the Philippines.

Photo: A Diamedica portable anaesthesia machine in use by an emergency response team in a mobile hospital following the typhoon in the Philippines.

 

Hospitainer, the Dutch organisation that supplies rapidly deployment mobile field hospitals to conflict zones including Syria and Yemen, equips them with Diamedica anaesthesia equipment.

 

The G4 Alliance

Over two billion people lack access to basic surgical services worldwide, with less than 4 per cent of all operations worldwide taking place in the world’s poorest countries. We strive to raise awareness of the lack of adequate anaesthesia in many areas of the world and the need to provide appropriate equipment for low-resource settings.

Diamedica is a founder member of the G4 Alliance – The Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma and Anaesthesia Care. The G4 Alliance aims to prioritise surgical care on the global development agenda and provides a collective voice to support increased access to safe, essential and timely surgical, obstetric, trauma, and anaesthesia care for all.

Any readers interested in our products can view full details on our website www.diamedica.co.uk or contact us at info@diamedica.co.uk

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