Today on International Women’s Day we are celebrating women around the world who are being bold for change! We see a constant stream of strong, kind and successful women come and go from the Africa Mercy, and today I am honoring my friend Christina Fast, a Sterile Processing Educator, who has made safer surgery possible for thousands and continues to partner with Mercy Ships to educate people in undeveloped nations about sterile processing.
I first met Christina in 2011 while serving onboard the Africa Mercy. Volunteering with Mercy Ships in Sierra Leone in 2011 motivated Christina at the age of 22 to look for an organization that worked internationally to improve medical device reprocessing. When no organization was found she decided to start her own, called Sterile Processing Education Charitable Trust (SPECT), the only organization that focuses on free medical device reprocessing education and training in developing countries.
In partnership with Mercy Ships International and Grand Challenges Canada, SPECT has provided education and training to local Sterile Processors in Guinea, Republic of Congo, Madagascar, and Benin. Christina has also volunteered twice a year to assist Mercy Ships, an organization that provides surgeries in the poorest of the poor countries, training workers onboard and making recommendations for further improvement in practice. Christina also works countless hours assisting to coordinate and organize training for SPECT, as well as communicate the work SPECT is doing through social media and fundraisers.
Christina recently received an award as one of 20 people under the age of 35 who is making a difference in the developing world. SPECT is currently partnering with Mercy Ships Canada and Assist International, providing education classes, mentoring, and consultation to hospitals and clinics in Benin and Ethiopia.
Knowing that sterile processing is the underpinning of successful surgery, Christina is an amazing advocate for Sterile Processors and improvements in this area of health care. She gives her time and gives up more lucrative work, to do what she loves – helping people learn to clean and sterilize well!
Jane McIntosh volunteered with Mercy Ships for two years serving in Sierra Leone, Togo and Guinea. She headed up the Sterilizing Room, processing instruments for all surgeries. Jane currently works at Mercy Ships Canada in Donor Relations for Fundraising