2018 Winner
Wise 50 Over 50 Award™

Dan Fast – Sterile Processing Education Charitable Trust (SPECT)


Dan worked as a consultant and program coordinator in a variety of capacities, including agricultural, environmental, technological, social enterprise and international development projects. Olive is a Registered Nurse and Associate Professor of Nursing at Mount Royal University, Calgary. Christina is a certified international sterile processing educator, with experience educating internationally trained healthcare professionals in Canadian sterile processing practices.

Dan was 55 and Olive was 52 when Christina, then 23, made them aware of the issues with sterilization of surgical instruments she was seeing while volunteering with the Africa Mercy Ship in Sierra Leone. Christina discovered that hospitals lacked staff knowledge, equipment and supplies to sterilize surgical instruments, factors that contributed to high post-surgical infection rates. Subsequent assessments in additional African countries revealed similar conditions.

Finding no organization that was focused on this aspect of surgical care, Sterile Processing Education Charitable Trust (SPECT) was established two years later. SPECT provides education and training to health care workers in low and middle income countries on the principles and practices of sterile processing, assisting hospitals to source supplies and offering a low cost method of instrument sterilization for hospitals and clinics that lack properly functioning sterilization equipment.

Together with a small group of volunteers, SPECT has managed to increase the visibility of the issues in sterile processing on the global stage. Since SPECT was established, we have offered training in 7 African countries, trained over 520 staff from 100 hospitals and 60 clinics, distributed 88 unique low resource sterilization units and have established 3 global partnerships including Mercy Ships, Assist International and Lifebox.

We are also involved with numerous other organizations working together under GE Foundation funding for Safe Surgery 2020.

Our work has been published in the BMJ Global Health and Antibiotic Resistance and Infection Control Journal, journals dedicated to publishing high-quality peer-reviewed content. We have plans to expand our work to SE Asia and Central America in the coming year.