In many cases, hospital, and clinic medical needs in Ghana (and West Africa in general) are fundamentally different from those in Europe and America.
Equipment design and methods of care in Ghana must place a premium on ease of operation, maintenance, and repair; they must be inexpensive, simple to use and repair and highly responsive to the needs of local health clinics and hospitals.
This market is relatively small and will attract little attention from existing device manufacturers in Europe or the Americas.
Ghana has a large cohort of engineers who have been well-trained at the Universities in Ghana; but find relatively little opportunity to productively utilize their training in local industry. Consequently, many locally trained engineers leave the region.
These factors suggest that Ghana is well positioned to develop a biomedical industry comprised of local companies that design, produce, and distribute devices attuned to the needs of health clinics and hospitals in West Africa.
Seeding programs that facilitate the creation and growth of companies with the goal of serving the health care facilities of Ghana would:
take advantage of local technical expertise that is currently underutilized
identify and use local materials to minimize costs while supporting the local economy
design in coordination with local healthcare providers to assure manufacture of devices optimized for local conditions such as fluctuating electrical supply or use by lightly trained staff
generate local expertise for facilitating maintenance and repair
A local biomedical device industry in Ghana could eventually grow to serve all of West Africa, a potential market serving up to 400 million people.
4GBI personnel have worked with and will recruit as needed technology experts who have volunteered to mentor and advise on projects to meet unmet needs worldwide.
4GBI is a non-profit entity designing open-source solutions. However, 4GBI will not hinder others that use 4GBI designs to increase availability by earning a reasonable profit. This might include spin-offs, partners, and funders of 4GBI without contractual profit agreements.