Giving Back: NSHA radiation technologist, sonographer Phoebe Mandry volunteers time and skills to teach staff at Tanzanian hospital with RadAid International
Phoebe Mandry returned to Halifax recently after four weeks of volunteering in Tanzania with RadAid International, which “brings radiology to low-resource areas by delivering education, equipment, infrastructure, and support.”
Mandry, who normally as a radiation technologist and sonographer in the QEII Health Science Centre’s diagnostic imaging department, was in the east African country to teach ultrasound and bone density testing to sonographers, technologists and residents at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam.
Although it’s a brand new facility, Mandry said, “it’s still lacking the basics – sheets, towels, infection control, personal protective equipment for staff.”
During her time at the hospital, she focused significant energy on infection control.
“We do a lot of invasive exams,” she said. “Infection control is so important.”
Mandry worked largely with the main radiology staff at the teaching hospital, as well as with some outreach staff working in more rural areas. In addition to teaching techniques for ultrasound and bone density testing, she also worked with staff to develop protocols suited to their institution.
In the last weeks of her time at the hospital, Mandry said, “I could see that the techs were retaining information that I taught them. They were going to the resources I had brought. That felt really good.”
As much as she taught others, she also learned some important lessons herself. In an environment with older equipment, “I learned to perfect my techniques,” she said.
She also became more skilled at time management and more open to other cultures.
She was warmly welcomed into the Tanzanian culture, often enjoying the cultural food and sugar cane juice her colleagues brought to share.
Mandry is the second Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) employee to volunteer with RadAid, the first being Anne-Marie Lugossy, an associate program manager for the Tanzania program and an advisor for the Benin and Cameroon programs.
Like Mandry, Lugossy works as a radiological technologist with NSHA, at various sites across the organization’s Western Zone.
“As technologists, it’s great to be able to give back with our skills,” Mandry said.