Improving lives in three
The uniqueness of this project is that we perform follow-up on a scientific basis. We publish all our work and clinical outcomes in international peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Within the framework of this project, we try to recruit and train as many local staff as possible. Our goal is to make the project completely independent from out Dutch foundation and run by the local population.
With access to 3D printing, prosthetics can be manufactured at a reasonable cost, making it possible to improve lives.
WHO WE ARE
3D Sierra Leone is a Dutch project established in 2018 to improve prosthetic facilities in Low- and Middle-income Countries. In collaboration with the 3D-Lab at the Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen, we set up a pilot 3D laboratory in Masanga Hospital in rural Sierra Leone. Exploring 3D-scanning and -printing techniques to locally manufacture affordable prosthetic aids that meet the necessary standard.
Access to 3D printing, even in its most basic form, can provide a useful and essential tool for manufacturing locally relevant medical aids, such as braces, splints, and prostheses. We can print both simple and more complex products when needed, decreasing transportation delay and lowering costs. Using only three steps – scanning, designing and printing – we can manufacture custom-fitted prosthetics for a wide variety of amputees.
Furthermore, the entire process can be automated; whereby the prosthetic fitting would become less dependent on the individual prosthetist’s skills and experience. This way, we can train more prosthetic specialists in a shorter time to help more people in need.
WHY WE DO IT
Many complex wounds and amputations occur in Sierra Leone due to traffic accidents and infections. A common problem is delayed patient presentation to the hospital, and a vast majority of patients consult traditional healers. Because of this combination of circumstances, an initially small medical problem often leads to amputation. Furthermore, many amputees lost their limbs because of acts of violence by the rebels during the civil war.
When people are missing limbs, they often feel incomplete, which can lead to insecurity, depression, and exclusion from society. With the help of 3D Sierra Leone, people have the opportunity to obtain affordable prosthesis. Having a prosthesis will allow them to feel a part of society again, giving them a huge confidence boost.
Masanga Medical Research Unit
In collaboration with the Masanga Medical Research Unit, we set up a pilot 3D lab at the hospital. The MMRU platform promotes medical research in Sierra Leone to bring healthcare professionals together with a network of international partners to perform medical research. They hope to improve access of Sierra Leonean researchers to academic degrees and to improve patient care at Masanga Hospital and beyond.
3D lab Radboud University Medical Centre (Radboudumc)
Much of the research takes place in the Netherlands. The 3D-Lab at the Radboudumc in Nijmegen facilitates the implementation of technological innovations in 3D imaging and printing into daily clinical practice. These new technologies help improve the care and treatment plans of patients while taking their specific individual needs and wishes into consideration. It has created a close collaboration between engineers, doctors, and patients. Our project is part of the 3D lab at Radboudumc.