Nearly 99% of all maternal deaths happen in developing settings among poor and rural communities. It has been shown that access to family planning can reduce maternal mortality and morbidity; however, family planning is currently not available to nearly 225 million women in developing countries. Contraceptive use is important because it allows women to space births with healthy, optimal intervals of time. Because of this, there is an increased use of subdermal contraceptive implants, as these provide a safe, effective, discrete, and long-lasting form of birth control. It also allows women to focus on educational and economic opportunities without having to worry about getting pregnant and having children. This has created a need to ensure an easy mode of removal of these implants.
Because more and more women are having implants inserted, there is a need to be able to safely and effectively remove these implants to give women in developing nations control over their family planning. The process of removing implants is difficult and cumbersome, particularly for novice clinicians in developing settings. One of the hardest parts of the removal process is securing the implant so it is in a known and fixed location in the patient’s arm. The prototypes described focus on this securing portion of the removal process because the team determined that if the implant is secured, the remaining steps in the removal procedure will be easier for novice clinicians. The team focused on developing a device to assist in the removal of subdermal contraceptive implants to simplify the removal procedure for novice clinicians and midwives in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The design is a simple plastic block that can be strapped down at the back end of the implant through the use of a tourniquet. The block was designed to press down on one end of the implant to elevate the opposite end and prevent the implant from moving backward while the clinician grasps the front tip of the implant with forceps. The block features loop-like extrusions on the top where the tourniquet can be fed through. There is one belt loop to ease the threading of the tourniquet, enabling clinicians to easily line up the device with the implant. There is also an extruded line on the center side of the implant, indicating where to line up the back end of the implant. Because of the simplicity, the device was designed to be disposable so that cheaper materials could be used.
I have seen the people that my device will affect, and have met with the practitioners that will ultimately use it. The tangibility of that encounter makes me want to be a more accountable and ethical engineer.
What to Know About The Global Health Design Initiative
GHDI has been working with stakeholders for more than eight years to identify and address global health design challenges. Learn more about our history and core values.Learn More →
Since inception, we have worked on projects in maternal health, family planning, minimally invasive surgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and more. Explore our past and current projects.Learn More →