Mobile System Sterilizes Surgical Instruments in Low-Resource Settings

A Rice University team introduces its Sterile Box, a mobile, solar-powered facility to sterilize surgical instruments in low-resource settings. About a third of patients in low-resource settings suffer surgical-site infections, a number nine times higher than in developed countries. These infections are frequently the result of care providers using medical instruments that carry traces of microorganisms or biological material from previous patients. The Rice University station is built into a standard 20-foot steel shipping container that houses all the equipment necessary to prepare surgical instruments for safe reuse, including a water system for decontamination and a solar-powered autoclave for steam sterilization. Autoclaves are standard in modern hospitals but badly needed in low-resource settings.