June 4, 2014 11:15 pm

WATCH: UBC students hope to send hardware store drills to third-world countries

When you think of surgery in a Canadian hospital, you naturally picture stainless steel and state-of-the-art equipment, all of which has been thoroughly cleaned and sterilized.

However, operating theatres in third-world countries don’t have such luxuries, and a group of UBC students is helping to bring drills to those countries.

A specialized orthopedic drill in Canadian hospital costs about $30,000.

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The students invented a “drill cover bag” to go over a standard hardware store drill costing $100 or so, in order to allow it to be sterilized in hospital.

The drill cover is being tested in Uganda, where the country’s only trauma hospital performs about 30-40 orthopedic surgeries each week, often under difficult conditions with extremely limited infrastructure.

Power outages are frequent and running water isn’t guaranteed.

The students hope to sell a kit with the drill and five bags for less than $1,000.

The impact from this made-in-Vancouver invention could be huge. By 2030, death rates from road accidents in developing countries will be worse than malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

– with files from Elaine Yong

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