East Africa govts urged to embrace 3D printing technology in healthcare provision

East Africa govts urged to embrace 3D printing technology in healthcare provision

Speaking at a symposium hosted by the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi on Tuesday, Dr. Andrew Cook, a Senior Lecturer at the University College London’s Institute of Cardiovascular Science, discussed the future of micro-imaging and 3D printing of structural heart defects to assist surgeons in cases of complex heart (Courtesy photo)

By George Aine

East African governments have been urged to embrace modern, advanced 3D printing and micro-imaging technology in their hospitals to deal with emerging health complications.

3D printing uses a digital model to build an object of any size or shape — by adding successive layers of material in a single continuous run. This layering capability allows the manufacturing of complex shapes, such as the intricate structure of bones or vascular channels that would be impossible to create by other methods.

And speaking at a symposium hosted by the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi on Tuesday, Dr. Andrew Cook, a Senior Lecturer at the University College London’s Institute of Cardiovascular Science, discussed the future of micro-imaging and 3D printing of structural heart defects to assist surgeons in cases of complex heart.

Dr. Cook said 3D printing is used in creating medical implants, devices, prosthetics and even human tissue also known to improve their efficiency in solving real-life problems.

He added that advances in computer design and the ability to translate medical imaging — such as X-rays, computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound — to digital models that can be read by 3D printers are expanding its applications in health care.

He called upon lawmakers to review the existing health care policies, procedures, and laws to accommodate global advancements in the fast-paced healthcare technology field.

Mr. Shawn Bolouki, CEO Aga Khan University Hospital, emphasized that they are committed to the provision of world-class healthcare in the region through the adoption of modern state of the art technology.

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Dr. Edward Chege, a Senior Instructor, and Consultant radiologist noted that AKUHN already has the advanced imaging technology that would be important to have in place for effective application of 3D printing.

Currently, the hospital is also in the process of installing the PET CT and Cyclotron, the most modern cancer diagnostic equipment a first in East and Central Africa.

Other issues at the center of discussion at the symposium included the importance of Public-Private partnerships and on the potential of 3d collaborations with research and healthcare institutions and the incorporation of 3D healthcare printing in the medical training curriculum.

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