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Working abroad reinvigorated respiratory therapist for her work here


Andria Darlington educated nurse anesthetists on Ukerewe Island in Tanzania about airway management and resuscitation.

Picture a remote African island with a single hospital serving about 300,000 people. That’s where Respiratory Therapist Andria Darlington worked on a project called Improving Maternal and Infant Care. It was a challenging, rewarding and eye-opening experience.

“My participation is my very modest attempt to share first-world knowledge, experiences and resources with those who otherwise don’t have access – to bridge the gap in some very small way,” said Darlington. “The hope was to do it in a culturally sensitive and sustainable way.”

Darlington mentored nurse anesthetists on Ukerewe Island in Lake Victoria in Tanzania with a goal to improve cesarean-section outcomes. At Nansio District Hospital, she educated staff in areas such as anesthesia, airway management, resuscitation, critical thinking, monitoring, and general operating room protocols.

“There are too many preventable deaths of the young in places such as Ukerewe,” said Darlington. “They die because they are a woman, because they are pregnant, or because of the part of the world they happen to be born in.”

Dr. Catherine Attie, project lead and a physician at The Ottawa Hospital, recruited Darlington after she responded to a RACE (Rapid Assessment of Critical Events) call for an obstetric patient here at the hospital. Together with the Canada Africa Community Health Alliance and the Ukerewe District Health Council, the project was underway and partly funded by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development.

JE Oct 28 Andria Darlington #2 with children

Andria Darlington looks forward to new experiences. “Working abroad was an invigorating change. It allowed me to step away from the ordinary and reaffirm my passion for helping those in need.”

Darlington now realizes how fortunate we are for the funds, supplies and staff training here at our hospital.

“Seeing those who have insufficient resources and the impact that has on lives has left a lasting impression,” she said. “A fraction of our resources can make a tremendous difference in low-resource areas.”

Returning from such a rich experience, Darlington brought a new perspective back to Ottawa.

“I feel part of a global community,” she said. “I feel compassion for the plight of others, regardless of class, culture, or creed and I am sensitive to the health disparities that exist.”

Seeing the effects of her work abroad has inspired Darlington to continue volunteering.

“I returned feeling connected to the world around me, motivated by a hope to make a difference, and positive that change can be possible even when it seems extremely challenging.”


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