It's easy to find a bedside monitor in a hospital in the developing world, but it's harder to find one in use. Western hospitals replace their electrocardiogram machines every few years and donate their used equipment. The second-hand machines work fine, with one glaring exception: They don't come with pads. The pads are disposable and often in short supply in impoverished regions.
The solution is to make ECG pads
(link to E4C's how-to) from easy-to-find materials such as snap buttons and bottle caps. Robert Malkin and students at Duke University invented the trick, and our friends at Engineering World Health
travel the world and demonstrate that making ECG pads and conductive gel is fun for the whole family. The materials required are bottle caps (read: beer and soft drinks) and the conductive gel is a gooey mess that kids enjoy. Incidentally, the gel is two ingredients and some changed proportions shy of homemade Playdough
(another Instructable), which may also also go over well in the pediatric ward.
Electrocardiogram (ECG, sometimes EKG for the German name) machines measure the heart rate and rhythm and indirectly assess the blood flow to the heart. They monitor electrical activity through the pads stuck to the patients' skin.
Here's how to make the the pads, and see the last step for directions for use.