Online / 6 & 7 February 2021


Local manufacturing of open-source devices for medical labs in Africa: prototyping stage in Cameroon.

The lack of accessible quality healthcare is one of the biggest problems in Africa and other developing countries. This is not only due to the unavailability of resources, but also to the absence of a structured formative process for the design and management of healthcare facilities. This situation strongly contributes to deepening inequalities in access to quality healthcare. Through an Open Society Foundations funded project, the Mboalab aims to remedy these inequalities by building Open-Source devices for medical labs. Local manufacturing can address the infrastructural barriers that prevent imported or donated equipment from being properly used, and can facilitate the diffusion of innovation into healthcare practice. This project is part of the large MboaLab mission to contribute to the Common good and catalyze sustainable local development through Open Science.

Open science is the best and fair approach to support local manufacturing. That is why the crux of our approach is the use of “open source hardware”, where designs for easily replicated, high quality diagnostic tools are shared with the potential to transform medical devices through the use of digital fabrication and inexpensive, well-engineered parts from mass-produced consumer goods. During FOSDEM, we will present the different facets of our project: 1) the set of prototypes of high quality and inexpensive open-source devices we are going to build; 2) the capacity and capability building dimension of the project, enabling the empowerment of young cameroonians; 3) Expectations of the project.