Learnings from our first demonstrations

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Demonstration of the device for AIAS and AdeM

In the beginning of May, Marc and Annelise (Orvion) brought the Biomeme Two3 to Mozambique. We had planned a lot of demonstrations, to show our device to our partners and other interested parties. The aim was to get them acquainted with the technique, but also for them to give us input on the device and the process. Where do they see possibilities for the device? What do think of the analyses steps? What has to be improved?

During the course of 2 weeks we demonstrated the device to many different parties; WE Consult colleagues, UNICEF, Red Cross, AIAS, AdeM, CRA, the ministry of Health, the municipality of Maputo, the laboratory of the ministry of health, World Vision and last but not least at the Aqua for All seminar. From these demonstrations and the discussions afterwards we got a lot of useful input. A lot of LEARNINGS, if you will.

So what did we learn?

1) Most importantly we learned that people are excited about the device and the techique. Everyone was enthusiastic and could see the added value compared to traditional culturing techniques.

2) The biggest advantages according to our "panel" were the fast analyses (1-2 hours) and the fact that no cold chain is needed. That other bacteria than E.coli can easily be measured was of course also considered an advantage, but for most parties e.coli would remain the dominant test required (for now).

3) The test is (though much simpler than in the lab) still considered (too) complex by everyone that does not regularly work in a lab. It still requires a lot of steps, where unskilled personnel can easily make a mistake. It was concluded by several parties that laboratory personnel and skilled WaSH technicians could perform the analysis after a training, but that it cannot be done by unskilled enumerators. Orvion will try to make the process simpler, perhaps by automising a few steps.

4) De Biomeme Two3 can do three analyses at the same time. Despite the short time per analysis (1-2 hours) this still takes too much time for the daily sampling of the water providers (can be 40 samples per day). We will consider if we should focus on a slightly bigger field device that can analyse more samples at once. For some potential costumers a bigger device centrally located at the lab that can analyse a lot of samples at the same time would be most useful.

5) The price is too high. For any of the these parties to use the device, the price per test should be decreased.

Besides these main learnings we also made a lot of connections, which will hopefully prove useful in the near future!

Tesse Bijleveld's picture