Doctor Makes CerviScope from Items Found at Walmart

Dr. David Walmer’s CerviScope.

Doctors in the developing world are presented with challenges to do with infrastructure and cost as they work valiantly to save lives. One doctor, Dr. David Walmer, is taking on these challenges in a new way by creating indispensable medical equipment from items that you could buy at your local Walmart.

Dr. Walmer works as a doctor in Haiti. Many of his patients are suffering from cervical cancer, but colposcopes, which enable doctors to examine a woman’s cervix for signs of cancer, are too expensive and require electricity. That makes them nonviable to use in the developing world, which is a sad thing since cervical cancer is treatable if you can detect it in the first ten years.

Dr. Walmer set out to create a colposcope that was inexpensive and did not require electricity, so naturally he headed down to Walmart. The first prototype of what he calls the CerviScope used “a halogen headlamp [found] at a bike shop and a green filter [found] at a camera store.” The original prototype was enhanced using “lenses from a $10 set of binoculars bought at Walmart” along with “a pair of $16 battery-powered LEDs.”

The CerviScope is still being perfected by the nonprofit Family Health Ministries. Their goal is to make the Cerviscope at a price point below $750. That should make it viable for use in the developing world. Parts for the production version of the CerviScope will likely not come from Walmart, but the fact that you could buy everything you need to make one from Walmart is still pretty awesome.

Source: NY Times

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