By Mustapha Jarju
Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (MRCG at LSHTM) in collaboration with Make3D Company Limited and Prusa Research, the world leading manufacturer of 3D Printers, with the support of the Czech Development Agency, on Tuesday, 27th September 2022 hosted an international workshop under the theme ‘3D Printing in Health’ at the unit head office in Fajara.
The workshop has created a platform to share experience in 3D printing in the medical sector between Czech and its Gambian stakeholders, “Including the hospitals, research institutions, ministries, regulatory authorities, students, experts, industry representatives, NGOs, and other professionals to bring new opportunities to scale up the impact of 3D printed innovations.”
Dr. Davis Nwakanma, Chief Operating Officer at MRC the Gambia spoke on the significance of the workshop.
He said the Workshop is about 3D Printing and sharing experience with experts, “the 3D printing is not a new technology but it becomes very important in the last few years, especially with the Covid-19 whereby they produce facemasks, face shields and also provide machines that provide things they order,” he said.
“The 3D printing operation will be sustainable for the Gambia if we can afford the 3D machine that the fix-up is not very expensive, from the power consumption of what I see it couldn’t be a challenge.”
Fatou Juka Darboe, Director and Co-Founder of Make 3D Company Limited said 3D printing technology that is transforming and can be used to solve problems in our health system
She noted that when the Covid-19 pandemic started the Gambia is one of the countries that highly depend on imported medical goods, “looking for solutions to that we were able to print some 3D prints for health care workers and also working with the medical engineering lab of MRC the Gambia and come up with 3D printed medical devices in the lab for research”, she stated.
Dr Aliyu Ahmed PhD Student and a Planetary Health Theme Member MRC Gambia also comment on the International 3D Printing workshop saying the workshop was meant to build capacity on 3D printing not only for health research but also for further education, and they have sessions on the use of 3D for medics and related matters.
“Here at the MRC Unit we have a 3D printing department that makes various materials that are used at the clinic department, we also have a student-based project that is going to use the 3D printers to broader our sustainability”, Aliyu said.
Dr Aliyu went on that they do recycle plastic and they have been able to make some templates and designs at the unit, saying it is very important to them to learn network because they are what they want to see moving forward.