Doctor Tarek Loubani in Gaza working to produce medical industry's best stethoscope for 30 cents

Loubani is aiming to bring low-cost medical supplies to hospitals in Gaza

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The Independent Online

A doctor working in the Gaza strip has developed a stethoscope to rival the medical industry’s gold-standard instrument, and which costs only 30 cents to make.

Tarek Loubani, who has been working at the Shifa hospital in Gaza for several years, has developed a stethoscope that can be 3D printed, which will help give hospitals across the blockaded strip easy access to low-cost medical instruments.

The new stethoscope is free and is the latest invention from Loubani’s Glia project. Glia is “a project with the goal of releasing high quality free/open medical hardware to increase availability to those who need it,” the website states.

 

The Register reports the Glia project was developed in the aftermath of the 2012 clashes between Israel and Gaza, when he and his medical colleagues were unable to access vital equipment to treat those injured. Instead of having suitable stethoscopes the doctors were forced to put their ears to people’s chests to hear their heartbeats.

“I had to hold my ear to the chests of victims because there were no good stethoscopes, and that was a tragedy, a travesty, and unacceptable,” he said at the Chaos Communications Camp in Germany, the site reported.

Loubani has funded the development of the stethoscope himself, which has cost €10,000 (£7,100) so far, but it has been used locally and successfully for the past six months and is confident it will be approved soon.

Loubani claims the stethoscope is better than the current gold standard Littman Cardiology III by 3M, and its designs have been published on the open source site Github.

“The goal here is self-sufficiency, and so the plan for Gaza and other underserved areas is to have 3D printers there,” he told Wired, adding that it would cost “about as much for a 3D printer as to buy a new Littman stethoscope”.

Loubani is Canadian and of Palestinian descent, and said he is in the process of getting the Medical Device Establishment Licence from Health Canada for the stethoscope.

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