News and stories

Meet the People Behind Hospital Equipment

Feb, 2021

We established our Healthcare Technology Management (HTM) program over 2 years ago with one of the largest hospitals in Tanzania and our oldest partner, Bugando Medical Centre (BMC). Since then, the program has been improving infrastructure and introducing new practices with BMC’s Engineering Department, so engineers are better able to serve the hospital. As the program continues to expand, we asked the staff about their work and how their experiences on the job has changed since HTM began.

 

A hospital’s ability to properly treat patients rests on the usability of its equipment, technology, and generator power. This is where the ever-critical engineers come in. Hospital engineers both fix and upkeep all hospital technology and equipment, spanning from defibrillators to oxygen plants. In doing so, they ensure that patients can get the procedures they need in a timely and safe manner.

 

We’re excited to introduce you to some members of the team!

     

 

The first face you see when walking in the door of BMC’s Engineering Department is Mary Fidelis’. She’s been working as a secretary there for 32 years. “[I] make sure that all the jobs in the Department are completed on time,” she explains. “So when the jobs are sealed, I [work to] make sure that the clients are also happy.”

 

The job tracking system introduced by the HTM program helps her manage work orders efficiently, giving full visibility and control of maintenance activities and ensuring faster turnaround on assignments, so clinicians do not have to wait very long for equipment to be ready to go. She also points to the new workshop (get a tour here!), saying that the more convenient working space has made “the environment [more] conducive and attractive.”

   

 

Next, pictured above is Emmanuel Silas, who’s been on the team for almost 4 years as a biomedical engineer. “Our aim is to save the [lives] of our patients, you know. So that’s why I chose to be a biomedical engineer.” His real passion is for upkeeping and fixing cancer treatment equipment. Testing the safety and performance of each machine, which he’s doing in the photo at the top of this news story, is key for making sure that equipment is ready to go.

   

 

Now, meet Nziza Rufuto¸ who’s been working as a biomedical technician at BMC for 4 years. “I like when I manage to work on something that becomes a help to someone who is in need,” she says, “when I manage to do that – that’s when I’m happy about my job.” With the HTM program’s introduction of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Nziza says that “you know exactly what you are doing, and you measure what you’re doing and you know where to improve…” Apart from tracking and identifying bottlenecks, KPIs motivate staff by making work more visible and opening space for further growth.

Nziza will be saying goodbye temporarily to the Department this year when she leaves to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering. Her plan is to return to BMC’s Engineering Department with enriched skills after completing her studies (learn more about Nziza’s here!).

   

 

Next up, Dianes Moses, also a biomedical technician. Dianes has played a critical role in implementing the Work in Progress room. This room is one of the new workshop’s core elements where the engineers’ work is organized and monitored with visual management boards like the ones in the picture. Like Nziza, she’s also pursuing her degree in Biomedical Engineering. We wish them all the best in their studies!

   

 

In the above photo, Senior Biomedical Technician, Everest Magoti, explains how the KPI board works. Magoti has been with the Department for over 20 years, specializing in maintaining ICU and operating theater equipment. When asked why he decided to pursue this career those many years ago, he said there were two reasons: “Of course, [the] first [was] to help the people and [the] second [was] to make long-living medical equipment.”

   

 

Finally, Jumanne Seleman, the head of Mechanical Section, has been with the Department as a mechanical technician for 15 years. A champion of KPIs and job tracking, Seleman and his team record and monitor the performance of BMC’s Oxygen plants, ensuring that minimum oxygen purity and pressure levels are maintained to efficiently serve the hospital.

 

Learn more about the HTM program here!

Welcoming our Newly Appointed Executive Director

Feb, 2021

Touch Foundation is pleased to announce that Massimiliano Pezzoli has been appointed Touch Foundation’s Executive Director.

 

Massi has been with Touch for over 8 years and has effectively led our program efforts for most of that time. Under his program leadership, Touch has built an extraordinary program team and has successfully developed and implemented programs that have improved access to healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa. He has played a major role in in both Touch’s geographic and programmatic expansion.

 

Celia Felsher, Touch’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said “We are very excited about Massi stepping into the position of Executive Director. Massi will now be responsible for all of the programmatic and operational functions at Touch, working with me and the Touch Board in leading our efforts to continue increasing our impact across sub-Saharan Africa.”

 

Before joining Touch, Massi was a Senior Manager at McKinsey & Co., where he spent four years serving major clients in the private health sector and in government and regulatory authorities across Europe, America, and the Middle East. Massi holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, an Executive MSc in Health Economics, Policy and Management from the London School of Economics, and an MSc in Aerospace Engineering from the Polytechnic of Milan.

 

Lowell Bryan, Touch’s Chairman of the Board, stated that “Massi has continually shown his commitment to Touch and our mission and we are looking forward to working with him in his new role.”