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close this bookGATE - 2/85 - Health, Water and Sanitation (GTZ GATE, 1985, 56 p.)
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News from GATE

Medical Equipment Household Technologies Refurbished

New GATE Section

Unemployment People Refurbish Medical Equipment

In July 1983 the non-profit-making association "Technologietransfer in die Dritte Welt e.V." (Technology Transfer to the Third World") (TTM) was founded in Marburg. This organisation repairs and offers second-hand medical equipment which has been adapted for use in developing countries by formerly unemployed skilled workers and academic personnel.

Right from the start, GATE participated in this project, firstly in the form of subsidies and advice in the field of products specially developed for Third World countries, and later by placing orders and purchasing equipment and objects for use in hospitals. A report on this work was published in "gate" 2/83.

At the end of the two-year support phase using job-creation subsidies from the Federal Labour Exchange, eight permanent jobs will be available from July 1985 onwards.

This achievement is the result of many ideas, some of them too optimistic in the initial phase, and sobering experience which led to the dropping of the more ambitious plans. It was soon discovered, for example, that honorary management staff in a small firm of this kind were not in a position to deal with customers and sponsors, despite the great demand for low-price, recycled equipment.

In order to guarantee the survival of the association a full-time manager was engaged in February 1985. In addition to his qualifications as a scientific instruments engineer, he also has experience in the construction of medical equipment and has spent some time in developing countries.

In order to recycle the wide range of used medical equipment, each piece must be tested and repaired individually - a very wage-intensive procedure. In order to keep the price level acceptable to those responsible for development-aid projects, TTM depends to a great extent on the old equipment being given free of charge. Only a relatively small number of appliances donated can, however, be repaired. Most of them have to be scrapped as they are either too old, or cannot be supplied with spares for any reasonable lenght of time, or, are simply too expensive to repair.

This fact was not originally envisaged by the founders of the association either. This experience can, however, be used to enable small-series-type repairs to be carried out on equipment of which more than one example is in stock.

Yet even the repair of old equipment can still not cover the costs. Full cost coverage is to be achieved by new developments from within the association, such as a tropical laboratory or the further development of a microscope which was submitted to GTZ/GATE in April for testing.

The tightening up of the association's organisation and of the production processes made such a good impression of the Federal Labour Exchange that further subsidies have been granted to those sectors of the operation which cannot yet show a profit.

Should TTM's efforts result in new orders, this would, on the one hand, fulfil a definite Third World need while on the other hand securing jobs in the Federal Republic of Germany.

New GATE Section

Following Mr. Stroter's appointment as head of GATE, the Specialized Library and Documentation Section at GTZ head office has now become part of GATE, constituting Section 214.

Specialized literature on the various sectors of technical cooperation between developing and industrialized countries may be used on the premises, and may also be borrowed by head office staff: reference works, textbooks, newspapers, lecture papers, specialist journals and newsletters. Collection of country reports, statistics, press cuttings and similar material permit rapid compilation of information on specific countries.

All items in this library room are freely accessible. Literature of a monografic nature (brochures and books) is arranged systematically by subject areas; periodicals are sorted by titles.

Another room houses documents which cannot be released for general use. These include in particular the studies, appraisals and reports commissioned by GTZ in connection with its projects. They are a major source for drawing on internal know-how. Also to be found here are confidential reports by the World Bank and regional development banks.

The services offered by Library and Documentation include not only acquiring and preparing specialized literature and making it available for use, but also providing users with advice and assistance in tracking down literature- including items not already in the Library's possession.

This Section also renders similar services in connection with the acquisition of literature for GTZ projects.

"Household technologies"

GATE intends to extend its activities into a field which is new to us: the sector often known as "household technology".

We have found that despite our technical facilities, despite computer and database, scientific documentation and cooperation with experts from the various appropriate technology sectors, we cannot say very much about an area which absorbs as much as 30 - 50 percent of the working and 40 percent of the effort of female members of household in developing countries. It would be better - in the opinion of project planners and project personnel - if the effort expended in this field were applied to a more productive occupation, for example production for the agricultural market. It is obvious that projects which implicitly rely on the female members of the family as unpaid helpers, without compensating them for this work by relieving them of duties in their traditional sphere, are doomed to failure.

Even the appropriate technology movement has long propagated the view that rural populations are underemployed and has paid little attention to the division of labour within the farm or the family, let alone developed solutions appropriate to the situation. For example, the AT movement - and here we cannot exclude ourselves - was (and is) more willing to finance the use of personal computers in AT centres, AT projects and AT partner organizations than the purchase of a diesel-powered grain mill which might (but does not necessarily have to!) make a tangible contribution to easing the work load borne by women in rural areas.

But please do not misunderstand us. We do not want to start a campaign for the propagation of diesel engined mills without knowing more about needs and preferences, and above all about existing technologies and techniques which help to cut the time and effort devoted to such work.

So we need, above all, informations, reports, case studies etc. on traditional and improved time-saving or labour-saving working methods, equipment and technologies for the following areas of a rural household

· Food (including preparation)
· Water
· Hygiene and related activities.

The information received will be collated, analysed, examined to determine the scope for improvement and/or application to other countries, and assembled into an information package. But we can only produce a package of this kind if you, our readers, give us your active support.

Please contact: Hans Neher c/o GATE Post Box 5180 D-6236 Eschborn 1 Federal Republic of Germany

Information Wanted

We are looking for possible alternatives to plastic bags as a means of raising seedlings in tree nurseries. The material should be organic, so that it does not have to be removed before transplanting the seedlings, and schould not cost much more than plastic bags. Please send your suggestions to .

Helma Zeh-Gasser
Post Box 5180
D-6236 Eschborn 1
Federal Republic of Germany