By Colm Fay, Erb MBA/MS student, class of 2012.
For the past 2 years I’ve associated the smell of neoprene with 4am wake ups, dawn treks to set up my bike, preparing my running gear and lining up at the edge of the water in my wetsuit at the start of a triathlon. While neoprene definitely contributed to keeping this triathlete alive, I’m about to find out how PATH are helping transform this techie sports material into a true life saving product for women in the developing world.
Up to 60% of maternal deaths in developing countries are as a result of post-partum hemorrhaging and PATH is helping develop a low cost device not unlike the bottom half of a wetsuit, called the Non-pneumatic Anti Shock Garment, that limits blood flow to the lower body thus ensuring that blood supply is available to the major organs. Women who develop symptoms have been kept alive for days at a time using the NASG while appropriate medical support is sought. By preventing blood loss and reducing the probability of the onset of shock, the NASG buys valuable time in countries where rural healthcare networks are underdeveloped.
As a WDI Fellow with PATH, my role, which starts next Monday, is to develop a market entry strategy and global demand model for the NASG. I’ll be working in the Commercialization department in Seattle for the majority of the summer, with a two week trip to India at the end of July to observe clinical trials in Rajasthan and Chennai, and to meet with members of the public health community who will be instrumental in the adoption of the NASG.
Just today my boss was on a TV show in Seattle describing and demonstrating the NASG (PATH to Global Health) and essentially talked about what I’m going to do for the summer. No pressure, right?
The opportunity to work with an organization like PATH is something I’m really looking forward to. Its an organization at the forefront of appropriate design in healthcare and which is working on numerous technologies that aim to improve the consistency and quality of healthcare in developing countries by focusing on simple yet effective solutions.