UC students engineer medical solutions in Tonga

For 10 weeks this summer, seven University of Canterbury (UC) students are going to be repairing life-saving medical equipment and engineering biomedical solutions in Tongan hospitals.

Sponsored by Callaghan Innovation summer research grants, the seven UC Biomedical Engineering students are learning how to repair medical devices on campus in Christchurch, before they left for Tonga.

UC Senior Lecturer in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering Dr Debbie Munro is leading the initiative. Earlier this year, UC launched an annual biomedical engineering work experience in the Pacific Islands where students can combine their engineering skills with hands-on training for repairing critically needed hospital equipment.

“We’ve selected our interns and are in the midst of preparing them to leave for Tonga. We will be repairing hospital equipment for ten weeks while also developing the framework for a training programme for local people to continue the repair and maintenance work in Tonga,” Dr Munro says.

Dr Munro is the supervisor for the first five weeks and UC Electronics Technician Julian Phillips, who received a staff development award to attend, will take over supervision for the second half of the internship in January.

“I am super excited to be partnering with Callaghan Innovation, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, and Take My Hands to send these students to Tonga for a global work experience where they can apply their biomedical engineering skills towards improving healthcare in developing countries,” Dr Munro says.