July – 2019 – Engineers for World Health
Monthly Archives

July 2019


Working out of my comfort and fear zones

This week was our last full week at Rwamagana Hospital, and the most work-filled week we have had so far. One of our BMETs went to a training in Kenya, and the other one broke his leg on Wednesday. So, we only had one BMET that was responsible for everything at the hospital. He challenged us to work in environments and departments we have never worked in.

We repaired an incubator in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and it was our first time to repair something that had not spent at least 2 weeks in the workshop. This incubator was put back in service after nurses cleaned it.

Pascale and Lauren after repairing an incubator in the NICU.



Usually when there is not a lot of work, our BMETs give us extension cords and laptop chargers to repair.

Gabriella and Pascale repairing a laptop charger.

This week was also marked by us working in the mortuary which was beyond my work expectations. The maintenance department is right near the mortuary, and we passed through many times because it is also a shortcut to reach other departments in the hospital. But we had never entered rooms where dead people are. It was a scaring experience entering the room where mortuary refrigerators are kept, but it forced us to work out of our comfort and fear zones.

My team ready to work in the mortuary.


A timer that was not working on one of the refrigerators in the mortuary.

We did not finish repairing the timer because our BMET was called to distribute oxygen to different departments, and wanted us to repair an X-ray viewer for the emergency department.

My team after helping our BMET repair an X-ray viewer.

My team with John (BMET), and the working X-ray viewer.

Also, this week we also changed fluorescent light bulbs in Internal medicine, and change door locks in emergency which gave me the ability to sometimes be my own technician.

Our time in Rwamagana would have not been the same if we would have not met the Swiss nursing students. They became our friends and helped us enjoy our free time even more.

My team with our Swiss friends we met at Rwamagana Hospital.


Explore days of the week with Pascale!

A view of Rwamagana hospital.

Rwamagana hospital is a relatively large hospital, it has 11 departments where maternity is the busiest. The maintenance department has three Biomedical Equipment technicians (BMETs) that are well trained and organized. Having three interns in the workshop did not help them a lot as we expected since they do not have a large equipment graveyard and they do preventive maintenance often. Instead it helped us learn from them and acquire new skills that we did not learn in our first month of training.

This blog contains some of the activities we did in the past weeks.


Unfortunately, we were not able to repair the ironing machine, because we did not have coils to replace in the motor to make it work.

Me and Lauren working on an ironing machine.


Burnt coils found in the ironing machine.














My team repairing knobs of fetal monitors.

Working fetal monitor with a repaired knob.



















An Electro-Surgery unit we worked on.

Soap we used as a body simulation to test the cut and coagulate probe of the electro-surgery unit.

Ultrasound machine we were unable to repair because it was a software issue and we did not find a service manual for it.





My team ready to clean and organize the workshop.




We sorted tools and organized them according to their use and type.

Some of the drawers we organized.

One of our On The Ground Coordinator, Claire came to visit us at work.





Heart of Hope coffee shop.











We have a tradition to go to a coffee shop (Heart of Hope or Art of Hope coffee shop according to google) that is a 20 min bus drive from our hotel every Wednesday after work for dinner.






A selfie with our barista, now a friend, in front of the coffee shop. 




My team ready to visit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.



Our hospital’s Neonatal Intensive care unit.

My team after repairing a VisiChart monitor, and the head of the maintenance department after repairing an Ophthalmoscope.





















Me and Gabby after working on changing a rusted wheel on a cart.

Me and Lauren soldering wires of an extension cord.



Started from germination and growth, but we are now ready to bloom!

For the last two weeks of training we visited King Faisal hospital and Muhima hospital. I was so excited to visit King Faisal hospital because it is one of the best and well equipped hospitals in Rwanda. When we went there we did not expect to find many equipment to work on, but surprisingly the eight of us that went there repaired six equipment that were then put back on the floor.

Pascale (Me) and Lauren checking the brightness of a medical lamp we repaired.

Cannon, Alex, and Maya repairing a suction machine.

EWH team after their visit at King Faisal hospital.











At Muhima hospital, we did not repair many equipment because they required spare parts
that we did not have access to. We repaired bladders of two cuffs that were
malfunctioning due to leakage.

Gabriella and Patience testing to see if the blood pressure machine was giving the correct readings.

EWH team and their instructor Dr. Moreno in front of Muhima hospital.

We also visited Agahozo Shalom youth village which is a non-profit whose aim is to
provide vulnerable and orphaned youth with necessary healing and education. We built
an ECG simulator with some of the students, and each one got to keep it.

Agahozo Shalom students soldering parts of their ECG simulator on the circuit

During the final week of training we organized an EWH championship where we split
into two teams and played football.

EWH students after their football championship

The sad part is always when you have to say goodbye to the people you spent time with
even when you are going to see each other after a month or less!

On the ground coordinators, a friendship sister, EWH students, and IPRC
students before going to their assigned hospital placement

My team on the first day of work at Rwamagana hospital ready to apply all the knowledge acquired during training.

This past week we started working as volunteer biomedical technicians in the
maintenance department of Rwamagana hospital. The staff of the hospital that we have
met so far is so friendly and welcoming. We got to know that the biomedical technicians
there do not only work on biomedical equipment, but are also responsible for distributing
oxygen, repairing doors, and changing lamps. It was helpful to work with one of the
biomedical technicians for half a day because we got to learn all of those skills.

One of the biomedical technicians, Baptiste, showing us how to do preventive maintenance of a suction machine

Some of us started in seed form not knowing many names of hospital equipment, but we
germinated and grew, and we are now ready to bloom and make an impact at our
assigned hospital placements!