Sexual and reproductive ill-health accounts for one third of the worldwide illness burden amongst girls and adolescent women of reproductive age. Regardless of many advances in entry to healthcare, 1000’s of ladies and women who dwell in distant, resource-constrained communities nonetheless battle to entry the care they want.
However Edmund Wessels, a College of Cape City (UCT) biomedical engineering PhD candidate, will cease at nothing to vary this. His resolution is a nifty, progressive and easy-to-use gynaecological system that enables gynaecologists to diagnose and deal with uterine-related challenges with out utilizing basic anaesthesia. Which means that sufferers can obtain the gynaecological care they want simply, and at a clinic nearer to residence – with out the effort of getting to journey lengthy distances at unaffordable charges to entry a major healthcare facility.
The system was co-invented with Professor Sudesh Sivarasu, the director of UCT’s Biomedical Engineering Analysis Centre and the pinnacle of UCT’s MedTech. Wessels stated the thought to develop the innovation got here after the late Dr Carol Thomas, a UCT specialist gynaecologist, alerted the MedTech staff to an unmet medical want that concerned medical gear. The staff placed on their pondering caps and what adopted was a tool that’s well-suited to be used in a physician’s workplace, in addition to in clinics in distant communities that lack correct medical infrastructure. And by adopting use of the innovation, clinics also can eradicate previous, outdated gear.
“Our system was designed with each the doctor and affected person expertise in thoughts.”
“Our system was designed with each the doctor and affected person expertise in thoughts. [It’s the] full resolution to the challenges they face,” Wessels stated.
A versatile, user-friendly system
FlexiGyn™ is a transportable system fitted with a built-in mild and digital camera hooked up to a small diameter versatile scope. The system has been designed to offer user-controlled bending in a number of instructions and comprises a show display that gives the clinician with one of the best view of the uterus, with out inflicting the affected person ache or discomfort. And because of its correct mini-scope navigation device, clinicians can entry the uterus simply to pinpoint diagnoses.
Wessels stated as a result of routinely used hysteroscopy programs utilized by clinicians to look at the uterus are inflexible and require sizeable visualisation gear to get the job finished, FlexiGyn™ is a worthwhile, trendy, out-of-the-box various. The system is battery-operated, can simply be held in a single hand to precisely carry out the uterine examination and is assured to enhance the expertise for each the clinician and the affected person. The system makes use of a disposable cowl to eradicate the prolonged time-consuming sterilisation course of and to make sure improved and environment friendly methods of working. The duvet additionally offers tiny passages that enable saline resolution to move by means of to inflate the uterus.
“We’re aiming to empower specialists with the gear they should present girls with improved entry to crucial care. FlexiGyn™ was designed to streamline the healthcare course of with out ignoring the affected person side,” he stated.
Trialled and examined
Wessels stated FlexiGyn™ has already handed a major step within the testing course of. The system was trialled by a staff of gynaecologists who have been happy with its performance. Presently, Wessels and his staff have partnered with a staff of regulatory and manufacturing specialists to take FlexiGyn™ one step additional – from improvement to manufacturing section.
“It’s fairly a journey to commercialise a medical system,” he stated. “Our start-up, VAS MedTech, is working with the college’s Analysis, Contracts and Innovation workplace to make sure FlexiGyn™ makes all of it the best way into the fingers of gynaecologists. We have now a plan to do that and are at the moment elevating funds to implement it.”
Wessels’s invention has additionally lately been nominated for the 2023 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. He’s certainly one of 15 up-and-coming African entrepreneurs to be shortlisted for this prestigious prize. Yearly, the Royal Academy of Engineering recognises and rewards younger African innovators who’re making big strides of their respective fields by creating scalable engineering options to native challenges. The prize is the most important of its type in Africa.
“As a continent we face many unthinkable challenges and entry to healthcare actually shouldn’t be certainly one of them. I hope FlexiGyn™ will enhance well being outcomes for a lot of girls and younger women on the continent.”
The academy will choose 4 finalists to pitch their innovations and enterprise plans to a panel of judges at an occasion in Ghana in July. The winner will obtain £25 000 (roughly R540 000), and three runners-up will win £10 000 (roughly R216 000) every. An extra One-to-Watch award of £5 000 (roughly R108 000) will likely be given to essentially the most promising entrepreneur from the remaining shortlist. Innovators shortlisted for the Africa Prize may also profit from a singular package deal of help together with enterprise incubation, mentoring, fundraising and communications. The package deal additionally contains entry to the academy’s world community of high-profile and extremely skilled engineers and enterprise specialists in the UK and Africa.
“I’m extremely honoured and delighted by this nomination and by the truth that FlexiGyn™ has been recognised amongst a number of the continent’s finest innovations. All these extremely proficient inventors have one objective and that’s to enhance a number of the harsh realities Africans are confronted with on daily basis,” Wessels stated. “As a continent we face many unthinkable challenges and entry to healthcare actually shouldn’t be certainly one of them. I hope that FlexiGyn™ will enhance well being outcomes for a lot of girls and younger women on the continent.”