Firdousa Hassan (right) returns to South Africa from the United Kingdom where she has lived for the past seven years. Before taking up her position at COHSASA, she held a permanent position as the Superintendent/Lead Technologist for PET/CT (Positron emission tomography–computed tomography) at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.

It was here she developed new protocols and procedures for the PET/CT suite and was involved in ensuring that the department met the standards required by national research organisations and external compliance bodies such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Firdousa was part of the research and clinical audit teams because of her interest in R&D and quality management in service delivery.

She will be managing contracts at COHSASA – from proposal to implementation stages – using all her previous experience of client liaison to ensure smooth project management.

After matriculating at South Peninsula High School in 1998, Firdousa earned an undergraduate degree in Nuclear Medicine Technology from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2005. This included a basic understanding of general radiography. She was then employed as the Senior Nuclear Medicine Technologist at the Polokwane Hospital Complex in Limpopo until 2008. Here she helped to train student radiologists and assisted the Department Manager in supervising junior staff.

In 2009 Firdousa became the Deputy Superintendent at the Paul Strickland Scanner Centre in Middlesex, UK where she says “most of her career growth” took place. She became adept in the safe preparation, dispensing and administration of radiopharmaceuticals including 18F-FDG, “now the standard radiotracer used for PET neuroimaging and cancer patient management”.  

Writing procedures

She was responsible for performing daily and weekly quality control procedures on imaging and radioactive assay equipment and the co-ordination of clinical audits in PET/CT. She also assisted the superintendent with the formulation and writing of imaging procedures and protocols according to the Best Available Technique (BAT) and Good Clinical Practice (GCP).

In June 2013 Firdousa joined the Royal Free Hospital in London as the Superintendent/Lead Technologist in the PET/CT Suite and played a senior role in nuclear medicine at the hospital.

Her duties included several quality improvement and patient safety activities and she coordinated all the clinical audits in the Department relating to infection control, health and safety risks and clinical incidents. This included conducting quarterly patient satisfaction surveys and ensuring adherence to occupational health and safety regulations. These activities led her to a particular passion: ensuring better health delivery in emerging countries like her own – South Africa.

She has returned to her home country with a burning mission, “the more I get involved in quality improvement and patient safety in health delivery, the more I want to do this.  At COHSASA I can be at the frontline – that’s where I can make a difference,” she says.

While she gets frustrated when she sees the difference in health care delivered in first and third world countries, she believes that South Africa has some of the best training available for many different specialist areas of medicine.

“Apart from my operational duties, I want to focus on research and deliver data which explains why accreditation and quality improvement are essential aspects of healthcare.”

As she re-settles back home in Cape Town, Firdousa will be a busy mom to her four children – Rania 11; Thana 9; Sabir-Ahmed, 4 and IQra 15 months. She loves reading non-fiction and has a great interest in complementary medicine.