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About the jfish Project

Why do this? - The Practical Answer

It is estimated that over 100 million general anaesthetics are performed in the world each year - a significant proportion of these occur in developing countries. Many developing country medical institutions continue to use aged monitoring technologies or more commonly, do without certain modalities entirely. Most attempts to bridge this technological divide aim to rectify such disparity through the donation of surplus modern equipment.

The double-edged sword of equipment donation

While the donation of medical equipment often arises from the most noble of intentions, donation produces its own problems.

  • Training and local-language documentation is often not available.
  • There is no provision for maintenance of equipment.
  • Much equipment requires expensive and specialised consumables not available in many developing countries.
  • A once-off donation provides no mechanism for ongoing access to evolving technologies.
  • Isolated donations result in incompatible systems being used in parallel within organisations and health structures.
  • Infrastructure is often of poor quality, such as unreliable or absent mains power supplies - an environment that most medical equipment is not suited for.
  • Equipment is often inappropriate for local use, being produced for use within a Western context.
  • Intellectual property laws, equipment patents and commercial secrecy heavily restrict use of Western equipment. Equipment is thus unable to be adapted, unable to be improved and unable to be extended to be made more locally useful.
  • While an initial donation may be free, future replacement or upgrade is prohibitively expensive.
  • Commercial medical equipment companies have little interest in supporting the use of their products in the comparatively poorly profitable markets of developing countries.
  • Donation is a one-way exchange and fosters a culture of dependence and a false belief in the inherent superiority of Western equipment and innovation.

The jfish Project seeks to address these problems.

Why do this? - The Socio-political Answer

Many established and ubiquitous monitoring technologies are based upon research and development originally conducted in publicly funded institutions. Of equal significance, these technologies are often based upon quite simple science and well-established engineering principles, hardly justifying the high cost that public health systems throughout the world must pay for access to such technology.

Recent new technologies enforce an even higher level of restriction and control. Many of these new technologies are founded upon the commodification of public goodwill and resources, yet commercial motivations apply limits to subsequent public and professional access.

The jfish Project does not seek to compete against such commercial forces, nor to undermine in anyway the many significant medical advances made by these companies. We merely aim to provide a safe and reliable alternative for the members of the world’s population who are economically marginilised and do not have access to many of the technologies considered essential to the provision of quality anaesthetic care in the developed world.

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