WHO estimates that today, more than 1 billion people need one or more assistive products. With a global ageing population and rise in noncommunicable diseases, this number will rise beyond 2 billion by 2050, with many older people needing two or more products as they age.
Licia Di Pietro, UBORA team member, is spending a period of 3 months at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva as an intern. She is involved in the activities of supporting the work of the GATE based in the Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products.
The GATE initiative has only one goal: to improve access to high-quality affordable assistive products globally. To achieve this, the GATE initiative is focusing on five interlinked areas (5P): people, policy, products, provision and personnel.
During her internship, Licia is supporting the development of Assistive Product Specifications and mapping need for assistive technology using existing population data sources. In particular, she is involved in a study conducted between WHO Headquarters and WHO EURO, where WHO Headquarters led the estimation of the prevalence of functional limitations across all 4 countries and mapping potential AP of benefit and WHO EURO led the implementation and follow up of the rapid AT capacity assessment.
Successful teams emerging from the design competition will have one team member invited to a one-week design school featuring an innovative Conceive Design Implement Operate (CDIO) instructional framework empowered by the UBORA an e-infrastructure for the co-design of open-source medical devices.
It is a two-stage competition: the first-stage deadline is on April 1st 2019.
For submission procedure, evaluation criteria, scholarships, and other important dates please refer to the Competition page on ABEC website.
Prof. Andrés Díaz Lantada featuring UBORA as model for BME Education
Prof. Andrés Díaz Lantada has been invited by the organizing team of the Biodevices 2019 to give a keynote lecture. The topic of the lecture has been “Project Based Learning and Biomedical Devices: The UBORA Approach Towards an International Community of Developers Focused on Open-Source Medical Devices”. In the lecture, Andrés reviewed different approaches to BME education and highlighted the UBORA educational model, in connection with open-source medical devices, as paradigmatic initiative pursuing the transformation of the medical industry and innovation through education.
Interesting discussions and contacts, in connection with the sustainability of the UBORA project and with the expansion of the UBORA community, had been motivated by the presented keynote speech. Future activities for expanding UBORA into Middle East and Central Asia are being analyzed, on the basis of the contacts and synergies established in the Biodevices 2019 Conference. Besides, Andrés Díaz Lantada will be chairing the Doctoral Consortium of the Biodevices 2020 Conference to be held in Malta, in which UBORA devices will be also presented.
Prof. Alice Ravizza featuring UBORA as a resource for safe medical
Prof. Alice Ravizza, UBORA consultant, presented at Biodevices 2019 an innovative approach (in fact a methodology) to the promotion of safe-by-design medical devices, in which human errors during the use of medical devices are taken into account along the whole development and medical device life-cycle. UBORA devices, such as the “Palpreast” system for breast cancer detection (University of Pisa) and composite material splints for safe sport practice (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid), were featured as safe medical devices, in which usability risk assessment during the design stage has helped to enhance final performance and overall safety. The UBORA e-infrastructure guides medical devices innovators and developers in the safe engineering design of medical devices and motivates them to consider medical device usability and the user environment throughout the development process.
In the context of the activities for promoting the UBORA platform and importance of harmonization of medical device regulation, an UBORA workshop was held at University of Bologna, the oldest University in Europe, on February 26th.
The workshop, hosted in the course Biomedical Engineering for Developing Countries, thanks to the invitation of professor Stefano Severi, was organized in two sessions. In the morning we presented the UBORA design methodology, starting from clinical needs and putting emphasis on standards and regulation. The importance of harmonization of medical device legislation, in the context of global and local healthcare challenges, was one of the themes of discussion. In the afternoon, after an overview of the European Medical Device Regulation 2017/745, the students had the opportunity to do guided exercises on the classification of Medical Devices using the tools provided by the UBORA platform.
The objective of the course, held on 14-18 January 2019, was to introduce the design principles of biomedical electronics and impart practical knowledge on construction and signal acquisition (details on the teaching programme can be found here). The same principles are daily applied by Mannan’s team for designing their devices on UBORA platform.
The 4th WHO Global Forum on Medical Devices, held at AMTZ-Kalam Convention Centre in Visakhapatnam (India), was a great opportunity for the over 1000 participants from all over the world to disseminate and share information on medical devices for global health.
During the forum, the UBORA delegates had the opportunity to hold a dedicated workshop on Open Source Medical Devices: safety and reliability, where the e-infrastructure was used by many participants with a different background (healthcare providers, entrepreneurs, policymakers) and origin (from Asia to America).
UBORA is a truly worldwide community of medical device developers which includes engineers, clinicians and patients, for developing needs-based medical healthcare technologies.
Recently (November 29th) we met, for example, the doctors of Zambrano Hellion Hospital in Monterrey (MX), one of the most advanced in Latin America. The discussion was focused both on high-tech medical devices and on the low resource settings, which can be found also in rich areas such as Monterrey. Open, smart and EU MDR compliant solutions can come from the UBORA e-infrastructure: a worldwide harmonized regulation is, however, necessary for increasing the access to quality healthcare.
Representatives of BME community from EU, Africa, US and Asia, of European Parliament Members (Madame Neena Gill, West Midland and Nicola Caputo, Italy), of European Commission (Mr Bernd Rainer, DG Research) took part to the meeting.
One of the topics of the meeting was how to harmonise international regulation on medical devices and medical setting across these continents, which is a key objective of UBORA.
Thinking, making, innovating, taking care, this is the mission of MAKEtoCARE18.
During the evening of October 10th, Licia Di Pietro and Lucia Arcarisi of UBORA team were protagonists of MAKEtoCARE18, an initiative promoted by Sanofi Genzyme, the Speciality Care division of Sanofi. The contest is aimed at bringing out and facilitating the creation and dissemination of innovative solutions useful for meeting the real needs of people affected by any form of disability, understood as any marked decrease in quality of life due to pathologies and/or traumatic events. The event was held at “Tempio di Adriano” in Rome, where 8 teams presented their innovative ideas.
During the contest, Lucia Arcarisi presented Palpreast, a medical device designed through the UBORA e-infrastructure. The device is a wearable stretchy top with a pressure sensing textile that is adapted to breast with an inflation system. This system applies an external pressure to simulate the hand movement that detects the presence of nodules, which are stiffer than the breast tissue. The device can be used by all women, including pregnant ones, because it’s safe, easy and does not use any radiation. Women, with high familiar or genetic onset, are the first target patient population, which have to undergo to several breast diagnostic exams.
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