There is a considerable disparity in medical resources between the developed and the developing countries. In many developing countries people are still having difficulty in accessing affordable healthcare solutions to their everyday health issues.
One of the solutions to the issue is to use technologies like 3D printing, 3D printing uses a computer-generated design to create a 3D model of a medical device using Computer Aided Designs/Manufacturing/Engineering methods. The information is transmitted to the 3D printer, then through a process is known additive manufacturing, the 3D design is converted to 3D model. 3D printing is made by printing layer after layer forming the physical model with the reference to the digital 3D model designed by 3D CAD software or scanned from a 3D scanner.
An additive process uses various materials; from biodegradable plastic filament polylactic acid (PLA) to Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene(ABS) plastic to nylon., these materials are melted into thin layers and layer upon layer is printed until the desired physical object is obtained.
3D technology while can be used to print almost anything from product prototypes to parts of machinery, but the medical devices are the most significant applications of 3D printing technology. Envision individuals in remote villages across developing countries who can improve their healthcare delivery by using 3D printing technologies to design and develop simple medical devices like Fetoscope or umbilical cord clamps.
3D printing technologies can produce the most cost-effective, robust and innovative made to order products in healthcare which can overcome the existing deficit in supply chain and support their lives and improve the quality of healthcare delivery.