Technology set to transform Medevac and critical care in Africa
A myriad of existential threats plague the Continent of Africa: from the humanitarian crisis and terrorist activities across major regions to the health catastrophe occasioned by the Covid-19 Pandemic, climate change, and a general collapse of national health institutions. It has, indeed, been a somewhat tragic tale of woes.
A major public health gap that was exacerbated by the Covid -19 Pandemic has changed the Continent’s approach to the provision of medical evacuation (Medevac) in both times of peace and war; and the provision of critical care – commonly referred to as ICU services – to the Continent’s 1.3 billion people.
For years during many conflicts across Africa and around the world, military strategists have struggled with the medical evacuation and critical care of both civilian and military casualties on the frontlines and the care of civilian casualties when citizens are critically injured through natural disaster or violence.
Hitherto, the standard practice for most Military Medical Corps was to coordinate – in extreme conditions – the deployment of multiple medical devices including ventilators, heavy and sometimes dangerous of transport oxygen tanks, anesthesia machines, patient monitors, and ancillary ICU equipment in Forward Operating Bases, air ambulances, or on the front lines with a view to providing emergency care for wounded soldiers and other casualties.
This is set to change with the debut on the Continent of an innovative Medevac and mobile, micro-integrated life-support system called MOVES® SLC™that enables military medical personnel and civilian health workers to provide advanced life support and surgery in places where it would otherwise be impossible.
Going forward, caring for the unprecedented surge of war-zone and disaster trauma cases would be helped by the debut of unique, cutting-edge technology that is the flagship product of Thornhill Medical, a leading MedTech innovation firm based in Toronto, Canada.
The firm’s portable life-support system extends the critical care window while combining an oxygen concentrator, a unique O2-conserving ventilator, suction, and complete vital signs monitor in a single, rugged, portable, battery-powered single unit without the need for oxygen cylinders and can be hand-carried.
“MOVES® SLC™brings critical care to wherever the patient is. Critically injured patients and military personnel can be cared for immediately and longer whether they are in battle, at a disaster scene, in transport or in a remote, rural healthcare facility.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, where national governments have, over the years, contended with managing critical care cases far from where many patients are at the Primary Health Care (PHC) level, the MOVES SLC would also fill this gap in care by providing mobile life-support technology in Africa’s most remote, rural communities,” said Dr. EseOwie, Executive Chairman of Numelec Africa Holdings, Thornhill’s first partner in Africa.
“Remote areas, battle fields and regions hit by disaster often lack an accessible and available supply of oxygen and electricity to treat critically injured patients in need of life-support systems. The Thornhill Medical battery-operated and oxygen-generating technology solves this problem,” he said.
The technology, which developed partly at the urging of the U.S. Marine Corps, has been deployed by militaries and others in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Israel, and beyond, as well as for use in disaster relief.
Most recently, it was delivered – on the back of a generous donation by Thornhill Medical – for military and humanitarian use to a hospital in Ukraine and to the Commander of the Medical Forces of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. Important training and mentoring to the medical and military staff using the technology was also donated.
Also, now available in Africa and often used with the MOVES® SLC™device is Thornhill Medical’s path-breaking Adaptable Mobile Anesthesia System – the MADM™, which vaporizes and delivers gas anesthesia.
Numelec Africa is confident that the arrival of Thornhill’s advanced medical technologies on the continent would disrupt the delivery of critical care for military operations and primary health care, humanitarian relief, and disaster management, and even for offshore operations in the extractive industries.
“Beyond its benefit for the military, the MOVES SLC is set to transform Primary Health Care as we know it, as well as disaster relief and humanitarian emergency operations, given its portability, cutting-edge technology, and overall technological agility,” Owie stated.
“The continent’s extractive industries would also benefit from the solutions afforded by the ‘easily carried, rugged and oxygen creating life-support system as this would greatly provide critical care in deep-sea oil exploration platforms and complex mining operations.” he added.
The ultimate goal, in Owie’s view, is “to democratize access to positively disruptive and innovative MedTech solutions in Africa.”