Biomedical Engineers Join Our Mission

Written by Rachel McDonnell

Our final mission trip in 2018 is a first for Solidarity Bridge. Partnering with the TriMedX Foundation, a small team of missioners will be visiting Cochabamba this week, to work alongside our partners at Puente de Solidaridad. These missioners are not doctors or nurses, but biomedical engineers.

TriMedX donors in the US display a high performance electrosurgical unit that will be donated to our mission.

The TriMedX Foundation, created in 2004, recognizes that “there is a tremendous need for working medical equipment throughout the world. Without functioning medical equipment, hospitals and clinics are unable to diagnose and treat patients.” The foundation’s commitment to international medical equipment repair is a tremendous complement to our mission work.

Solidarity Bridge medical programs seek to progressively improve both the quality of and access to surgical care in Bolivia. The need is urgent, since surgical resources that easily treat disease and debilitating accidents in the United States remain inaccessible for the vast majority of the people in Bolivia. One of the primary ways we do this is through equipment donations that strengthen the capacity of our Bolivian partners.

We live in an era of steady progress in science, medicine and technology, but who benefits from these developments? Who has access to their life-saving advances?
— Pope Francis

Because Solidarity Bridge believes that the goods of the Earth (including medical care and equipment) belong to us all, equipping Bolivian hospitals and surgeons with needed technology, instruments, and supplies is essential to our mission. We dedicate time and resources to procuring specialized surgical equipment, but as with all mechanical devices, regular maintenance is needed to keep them operating safely and efficiently.

TriMedX Missioners work in our partner office in Cochabamba to rehab important surgical equipment.

During this trip, biomedical engineers from TriMedX will consult with José Choque, supplies coordinator for Puente de Solidaridad. They will work at the Puente de Solidaridad warehouse and will evaluate equipment at two of our partner hospitals in Cliza and Tiquipaya. They have also been invited to speak to students at a local engineering school. The team brings a wealth of knowledge, specialized tools, and replacement parts for some of our most critical equipment.

Repairing a power source, or replacing a broken light bulb on some of our most valuable surgical equipment, means that these items can be put back into use by our Bolivian partners and help them to serve more patients in need. We are excited to watch these relationships develop and to further our efforts to support the Bolivian medical community in their desire to provide safe and timely surgical care to all patients.