2012 Scale-Ups Fellow
A solar powered autoclave to sterilize medical instruments in offgrid and rural clinics.
Website: Little Devices
Pilot Market: Nicaragua
Partner: Mujeres Solares de Totogalpa
Meet Scale-Ups Fellow, Anna Young
An economist turned designer, Anna is a researcher at the D-Lab affiliated Little Devices group, and is the instructor of D-Lab: Health. In 2008, Anna started a solar autoclave group as part of the ETHOS program at the University of Dayton and the non-profit Salud del Sol. The Solarclave had been recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the most innovative global health technologies and in November 2012 was named one of 10 top "best of what's new" health innovations by Popular Science. Anna also manages a collaboration with Mass General Hospital to develop a solar-powered cooling device for storage of MDR-TB medication. Anna has developed partnerships in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Nigeria, and Ethiopia.
The Issue: Offgrid health clinics in need of sterilized medical instruments
Sterile instruments are needed to safely treat wounds, for gynecological examinations, prenatal care, and emergency births. However, fifty percent of rural health clinics, serving three billion people operate without electricity. Without electricity, these clinics have no hope of sterilizing medical instruments adequately through the use of an autoclave and must rely un substandard methods are travel long distances to sterilize instruments where an electrically powered autoclave is available.
The Solution: An efficient and intuitive solar powered autoclave
The Solarclave efficiently sterilizes medical instruments using sunlight, and was designed using only commonly available materials and requiring minimal technical expertise. The Solarclave achieves the physical CDC sterilization standard, and is being further validated through bacterial spore tests. The developers of the device—easy to construct, modular and modifiable, and intuitive to use—are committed to building a sustainable business that delivers this much-needed technology to rural clinics worldwide.