Medical devices

Biomedical engineering global resources

Trained and qualified biomedical engineering professionals are required to design, evaluate, regulate, maintain and manage medical devices, and train on their safe use in health systems around the world.

WHO has conducted surveys and studies to have information on the academic programs, professional societies and status of biomedical engineers worldwide, which will further enhance their involvement to increase access to safe, quality medical devices globally in order to provide better health care.

Therefore, WHO invites representatives of biomedical engineering institutions or programs, technical schools, professional societies, government institutions, and those responsible for country labour statistics, to complete the following survey on Biomedical Engineering professionals, in order to have information available.

Please kindly proceed to fill the 2015 survey, before the 6th of February 2015 at the following website:

WHO will compile all information from the previous (2009-2010, 2013- 2014) and current (2015) surveys in order to apply for recognition of Biomedical Engineering as a discipline in the International Standard Classification of Occupations (by the ILO, to be published 2018) as biomedical engineers belong to Unit Group 2149 "Engineering Professionals Not Elsewhere Classified" (pg. 120).

In addition, the data retrieved would be available at WHO "Global Health Observatory” and if completed and selected, in the 2015 "World Health Statistics”, depending on approval process.

The results of the survey are intended to be discussed in different international conferences including the "IUPESM World Congress 2015 (7-12 June).”

NOTE: WHO relies on external professionals to enter information into the database, thus the data base is only as good and accurate as the data entered in it.

Previous Surveys (2014 and 2009)

To access available information of the previous surveys please use the links provided below.

BME thumb

Survey conducted in 2009 to identify educational support in the biomedical and clinical engineering field and to facilitate contact with biomedical and clinical engineering teaching units and associations. This survey was developed and supervised by Dr Saide Calil and collaborators in University of Campinas, Brazil, working together with medical devices unit of WHO.
A total of 592 contacts were identified in 466 teaching units and 115 associations in 90 Member States.

  • This database was released in 2013 and is open and available, to search for information submitted during 2013, 2014. This database was developed mainly by Darash Desai and other collaborators from Boston University, USA, in collaboration with Shauna Mullally, Jennifer Barragan and Nicolas Jimenez, from WHO.
  • This database was designed by Daniela Rodriguez, and collaboration with other medical devices team members in WHO, considering the previous ones. Data retrieved will be available after March 2015.
Clinical engineering effectiveness in developing world hospitals by Mullally, Shauna, M.A.Sc., Carleton University (Canada), 2008, 198 pages.

Other statistics on Biomedical engineering training in low-resource settings….
In low-resource settings, biomedical engineering professionals are in short supply. They are affected by the same challenges that face doctors and nurses in such settings, including:

  • Limited educational opportunities in-country
  • Limited on the job training opportunities
  • Limited opportunities for career advancement
  • Inadequate numbers of qualified personnel to fill posts
  • Absence of a national professional regulatory body
  • Brain drain to higher-income countries
  • Competition with the private sector for scarce skilled professionals There is a critical need for more biomedical engineering training opportunities for biomedical engineering professionals in low-resource settings.

Sources of biomedical engineering training

Formal professional qualifications for biomedical engineering professionals are obtained through successful completion of programs at educational institutions: both technical schools and universities. Similar to other professions, continuous professional development training is essential for biomedical engineering professionals to retain and enhance their skills. Some sources of continuous professional development training include:

  • partnerships with educational institutions abroad;
  • non-governmental organizations that specialize in training medical device personnel;
  • on the job’ training for new recruits;
  • continual professional development training for staff;
  • training materials provided through professional associations;
  • device manufacturers and vendors; and
  • accessible online resources.

Additional training resources

In low-resource settings, biomedical engineering professionals are in short supply. They are affected by the same challenges that face doctors and nurses in such settings, including:

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