Every year up to 2 million people die in the developing world because they don't have enough money for a lifesaving pacemaker operation.
In the United Kingdom, approximately 35,000 individuals undergo pacemaker implant surgery each year, costing around £5,000 - £50,000 a time. When a pacemaker user dies, the device is buried with them, or, if the deceased chooses to be cremated it is discarded either as medical waste or often just placed in a box and forgotten. In the developing world around 2 million people die every year due to inaccessibility to medical healthcare and the prohibitive cost of lifesaving devices and a pacemaker surgery.
In the 21st century, the healthcare disparities between the industrialized world and those in under-developed countries have become all too apparent with cardiovascular disease having an increasing impact on death rates. Innovative methods of delivering normally costly healthcare to impoverished countries are required.
Pace4Life is responding to this situation by undertaking a project that will see thousands of discarded pacemakers sent to needy individuals, using creative methods of delivering costly healthcare to impoverished countries. Instead of the wasteful practice of binning pacemakers, Pace4Life is seeking to establish a process whereby people/patients donate old pacemakers to Pace4Life to be tested, and either reused or recycled.
“Some foreign manufacturers have reduced the cost of pacemakers to as little as $800, a price that still makes it out of reach in poor nations. Despite the substantial cost reduction, a new pacemaker is often more than the annual income of the average worker in underdeveloped nations,” - Kim A. Eagle, M.D., Cardiologist and a director of the U-M Cardiovascular Center.