In the aftermath of Tonga’s devastating volcanic eruption in 2022, Canon Medical and ASUM Outreach undertook a comprehensive outreach program, in partnership with the team in Tonga, to create a sustainable ultrasound service to serve the community of Tonga.

The first phase in May 2023 saw a team of skilled sonographers dedicating 3 days to Vaiola Hospital with a focus on obstetric ultrasound.

The November 2023 visit marked phase two, was a 5-day visit centred around supporting the development and extension of vascular ultrasound.  Our team consisted of three highly skilled sonographers, Peter Coombs, Jackie Spurway and Brett Ayres, not only reinforced the foundations laid in May, but also brought forth a range of new skills and advancements across various ultrasound specialties.

Vascular Ultrasound:

The training focused on vascular ultrasound resulted in an augmentation of skills supported by theoretical foundation. Local sonographers experienced improved knowledge in interpreting and optimising spectral traces and expanded their expertise significantly across new anatomical regions, including carotids, upper and lower limb DVT, leg arteries, renal arteries, and mesenteric arteries.

Obstetric Ultrasound:

The outcomes in obstetric ultrasound showcased a refinement and development of existing scanning skills. Implementation of spectral Doppler and AFI further extended the ultrasound examinations to enhance biophysical well-being assessments.

Transvaginal Ultrasound:

Identifying a burgeoning interest in transvaginal sonography, the team took proactive steps to address this need. The team engaged in pre-planning, training, and implementation. The successful execution of High-Level Disinfection (HLD) procedures, along with the initiation of transvaginal ultrasound training, marked a significant milestone.

The commitment and engagement of the team in Tonga to continue to develop the skills across all hospitals in Tonga is inspiring.  The camaraderie of our volunteers and the team in Tonga was not only providing content, but fostered a culture of learning, encouragement, affirmation, and support among the Tongan sonographers, along with a sense of gratitude from our volunteers.