Retired Microscopes Back To School Scheme
What is Retired Microscopes Back To School Scheme?
Most of us learned microbiology with the proper equipment, that is, microscopes. However, in deprived countries, students never get the opportunity to use real microscopes during their studies. Due to the total lack of equipment, student participation in science and particularly microbiology is very low.
On the bright side, we recently discovered an untapped resource that can help these students. In labs around the world there are uncountable numbers of retired microscopes hidden in the corner or in storage and not being used. They are in perfect working condition but they are forgotten having been replaced with newer equipment.
So, we created this movement to help these 'retired microscopes' get back to school in deprived countries, to help those who believe they can change the world with the right tools.
Our friend Matt explains the motivation:
Medical Professional Who Need Your Help 1:
I am Olaniyi Owoeye, a 35 year old Nigerian Haematologist who practices at the University Teaching Hospital in Ilorin, Nigeria. I have always been fascinated by cells, particularly blood cells and was inspired to pursue a career in Haematology by the experience of a childhood friend who suffers from Sickle cell anemia (being a carrier myself).
Diagnostic Haematology is an odyssey of sorts as each Haemato-oncology case presents a challenge so interesting and unique. However, this challenge boarders on the Herculean particularly at my primary site of practice where microscopes, even teaching microscopes, are grossly limited and the few that are available are limited and often prone to damages due to overuse wear and tear.
In my unit, since the beginning of 2016, specialists and trainee fellows have been limited to only one functional simple microscope (see attached photos) which we have had to share week-in, week-out since then! The challenge that this poses to proper training at all levels cannot be overemphasized, as the situation only favors the fittest with the bravest heart!
Having a good miscrope of my own has always been of paramount importance to me since I chose Haematology. In my part of the world (developing world), we rely so much on morphology in our day-to-day practice as we are often unable to venture into the deeper waters of advanced diagnostics due to the poverty and lack of Health insurance that is prevalent among our patients. This is what drives my passion towards mastery of morphology of blood cells, and ultimately the desire for a good miscrope so that I will be better equipped to offer the best to my patients. In the same vein, having a microscope of my own will enhance my capacity to train medical students, as well as colleagues who are on the lower rung of the academic ladder, effectively. It will also enhance my personal research and professional development.
I really do hope that my request will be favourably considered. I look forward to more positive collaboration with the scheme in the future.
Medical Professional Who Need Your Help 2:
I am a Nigerian, presently studying Veterinary Medicine. My love for scientific courses spans back to when I was a little child, but the obstacles and challenges standing as a barrier were so great. One of the major challenges was the absence of basic scientific equipment such as microscope. And that stalled my development for a long time. And on getting into veterinary medicine that same challenge still lingered. me to enquire and ask questions as why people that I loved died I realised that microorganism led to abnormalities that eventually caused their death, so as a child I moved with that resolve to study microorganism deeply in order to help society because if there were people who are deeply knowledgeable in microbiology and pathology these deaths could have been prevented and pain avoided. In my quest to be deeply knowledgeable in microbiology and pathology as a veterinarian, I realised it will be impossible to perfectly study microorganism without a microscope. So unavailability of microscope has hindered the progress of my personal studies due to the fact that I am only able to know theories and unable to practicalize them
Looking around my immediate environment, it became obvious that many kids and colleagues are hindered in there scientific and professional studies due to the lingering absence of a microscope. I have always been looking for a way to solve this problem but the cost of procuring a microscope is not within the ends of a common man. Therefore, when I saw this opportunity, I knew it is a way to solve this problem for myself in viewing practically what I have been taught theoretically, the kids by organizing tutorial and sensitization classes and my colleagues while studying together.
I have found out from several interactions I have had with kids in my locality that, so many kids and secondary school students are facing the same problem I faced. Many of them have passion for studying science and viewing the microorganisms mentioned to them in school and the ones they have seen in the textbooks. This has always made me to be looking for a way to mitigate the adverse effect of not having access to microscope to attain their goals therefore I have took out time to be sensitizing and tutoring them on microbiology. I have formed a team of few persons with my colleagues and we shall dedicate time into organizing tutorials and sensitization campaigns for primary and secondary school students who are passionate about studying scientific courses therefore spurring their interest in studying with the microscope and reaching out to more children. Getting a microscope will make this more easier and achievable as it would bridge a gap between theories and practically seeing the microorganism their teachers had mentioned to them in their class rooms and the ones they have seen in textbooks.