On 11th December last year Mike Hilditch and Martin Worster flew to Paris to attend the above conference called by THET and HUMATEM to address the dual issues of equipment donation and capacity building of Biomedical Engineering in low resource countries. The meeting was well attended by a wide range of organisations from seven European countries and the USA with interests in one or other of these two fields. The meeting was hosted by THET and Humatem, the latter a small French NGO who try to ensure that donations of equipment are appropriate and in good working order, and offer Biomedical Engineering services to the receiving countries. THET run a BMET training programme in Zambia which the Amalthea Trust, through Steven Daglish, helped them to establish. The Monday was spent finding out what each of the 13 organisations were doing in terms of good practice with respect to equipment donation, and the conclusion drawn was that everyone there was indeed following best practice in this regard. The people who needed to hear about this topic were not in fact in the room! It was nevertheless useful to hear what all these other organisations were doing, and it was a good profile raiser for the Trust. The Tuesday was spent discussing our main area of interest: the capacity building of Biomedical Engineers and Technicians in low resource countries. Once again, we all shared what we were doing, and it was indeed interesting to find out that the vast majority of the other organisations represented at the conference were in fact of a similar size to ourselves, working with just a handful of staff but very focussed on the outcomes of training more BMETs for these needy countries. Here the key output was the creation of an alliance between the various organisations represented at the roundtable with a view to avoiding replication of efforts, and to provide a European association of BMET capacity builders who together may be able to exert more leverage than we can do alone. We have decided as a group to target the up-coming World Health Assembly in Geneva, and the Equip’Aid Conference, in order to try and put Biomedical Engineering onto the Agenda of these large international health forums. It is not only good for the Amalthea Trust to be a part of this movement, but the two days also represented a useful profile raiser and networking opportunity which we made good use of.
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