Doctor Lars Brouwers is driving from the Netherlands to Sierra Leone with an Ultimaker 3D printer to teach locals how to print limb prosthetics for children.
With a friend by his side, Brouwers set off on the ultimate road trip. The Dutch doctor is currently en route to the Innovate Salone program in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
His mission? To help local children with missing limbs by 3D printing prosthetics for them.
“It is important that developments in technology and innovation are also introduced in the third world. By transferring our knowledge and the 3D printer, we want to contribute to healthcare. Otherwise, the differences with the prosperous countries will only increase,” Brouwers explains.
In addition to doing his bit to bridge the gap between rich and poor, Brouwers believes that this technology will hugely benefit more children.
In Sierra Leone, some children are born without limbs due to birth defects or sadly lose them to war.
Now, with the Ultimaker 3D printer, it’s possible to make a prosthetic hand in just one day. The devices are even able to grip things thanks to fishing wire and hinges.
The trip is now underway and Brouwers, along with a friend, who already lives and works in the country as a doctor, will arrive in the capital of Sierra Leone in three weeks.
All Systems Go Once Brouwers Reachers Freetown
In order to help Brouwers help the local project, Ultimaker sent him a 3D printer worth about $3,000 (€2,500) for free.
The Ultimaker 3D printer will also arrive fully equipped with software and spare parts. Plus, Brouwers has already arranged technical help if anything goes wrong.
“Technical problems are often easy to remotely remedy, for example via the app. And if it is very difficult, I can call on a befriended colleague in the Radboud UMC‘s 3D Lab,” he explains.
Innovate Salone is a program created by the Global Minimum organization. Hopefully, 3D printing will be able to greatly benefit the program.
“I want to show that 3D printing works cost-effectively compared to normal care. I have been working on that for two years,” Brouwers adds.
This is only a shortstop as the doctor has a very busy schedule as he continues his doctoral research and will begin training as a surgeon in Nijmegen, Netherlands in January. We wish him the best of luck!