As we celebrate the discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Roentgen on 08 November 1895, the Radiography Department at the University of Pretoria takes on the holistic approach to caring. The head, hands and heart expression illustrates the progression from knowing to caring and to do. This is evident in this department from the work that the students do on community engagement projects. An opportunity to learn more about the community needs, impart some knowledge about radiography and different services provided, and come through to address the needs of the communities.
As we celebrate World Radiography Day, we are continuing to show how we are engaging and impacting the communities among us.
The University of Pretoria, Radiography department, in response to the high number of abandoned babies in the Tshwane district, started the UP bags of Hope project. The project entails collecting, packing and distributing care packs to abandoned babies and mothers in need at hospitals in the Tswane district as well as Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Hospital.
Community engagement projects in the Radiography department
Third-year students are divided into groups, and they go out in these groups to the communities to educate them about Radiography services and different imaging equipment and accessories. In 2021, the students also visited oncology centres are Tshwane and handed out the Breast Cancer Care Packages. This was a way of just saying we care about you to the different patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Students had to contact different communities on the UP community engagement office database to find out what they do and what the specific centres were all about regarding the community educational programs. An example will be a centre that takes care of the elderly, and HIV/AIDS centre or another centre that might provide a shelter for some other members of the communities. Students had to prepare talks and presentations to the different communities.
Through these community outreach projects, communities are educated about radiography as a profession and the importance of going for radiographic imaging examinations and procedures if referred to by the doctor. Outreach projects are there to inform communities that there are far more important benefits of having radiography services because they help the referring doctors diagnose the different clinical or traumatic conditions. Communities must not fear the different kinds of procedures being done and the different kinds of machines that are being used.
Radiography House is preparing a handout – in the form of a heart with the writing “World Radiography Day, 08 November.” They will be handing these out to the students to put on their scrubs/clothes. They will also be posting on their social media platforms.