because supply chains fail
Ultrasound is an important tool for obstetric and trauma care in resource-limited settings, playing a major role in diagnosis and management. However, ultrasound use by local providers remains limited due to the cost of ultrasound gel and its lack of availability in local markets.
Alternatives to ultrasound gel materials have been found, but only offer a temporary relief to hospitals on limited budgets. While the cost of local manufacture is negligible, the process is still labor-intensive, and separation of contents renders the product useless by 3 days.
Any savings on consumable products would have a significant impact on public health.
To eliminate the need for consumable ultrasound gel, we designed an inexpensive, reusable transducing pad that glides on wet skin and has antimicrobial properties that fits with an elastic collar holding it tightly to the transducer probe.
Ultrasound utilizes high frequencies (~5mHz), which requires an acoustic wave conduction medium with an airtight interface between the probe and a target surface. Conventionally, this interface is single-use viscous hydro-gel that is squeezed from a bottle onto the patient’s skin.
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The Albert Einstein College of Medicine worked in collaboration with the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Radiology to test the pad material and shape for effectiveness and ease of use.
We intend to distribute 2,500 pads to hospitals in the Great Lakes Region (Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, DRC) and monitor durability for the lifetime of 10 units per hospital for 1 year. We will then make the gel pad available for distribution.
Learn how to get involved here.