There are tonnes of good ideas that can change the world. Regular readers of RESET will already know of a few. Every month, we will choose one idea that stands out thanks to its impact and innovative approach. Our favourite project in April: Sterile Box.
According to statistics from the WHO, rates of infections in healthcare settings in developing countries range from 15 to 40 per cent in contrast to five to 10 per cent in the developed world. It's a situation that Professor Douglas Schuler from Rice University, and his students, want to change. Their weapon of choice is a stand-alone operations trailer: the Sterile Box, a fully-equipped operating room, with a closed water circulation system and its own electricity supply fuelled by solar panels.
The renewable energy source is the key thing when it comes to the topic of hygiene, with the solar panels also powering a pressure chamber that can sterilise the surgical instruments using steam. Just boiling them in water, which is the method of sterilisation used in many places that lack equipment, electricity or know-how, doesn't offer sufficient protection against infection.
When developing the operating room, Professor Schuler's team didn't just concentrate on delivering a reliable energy and water supply. The whole working process of an operation, from preparation all the way to the follow-up procedures, were taken into account and provided for.
The team is currently working towards testing the Sterile Box in real settings and is teaming up with Baylor Global Initiatives and their mobile surgical unit called Smart Pod to carry out tests in Malawi next year.
For more info on Sterile Box, head to the Rice University website.
Take a look at all our favourite projects: Thumbs Up!