Tag Archives: doctors

Mayor's and Nurses' Breakfast for Haiti

The breakfast for Haiti this morning at RIM park gave the attendees much more than a simple tribute to Yvonne Martin and the raising of almost $10,000. Various speakers inspired with their own experiences in needy areas.

Betsy Wall, from the Foundation for International Development Assistance works with Haitian agriculture and was in the earthquake. She spoke about the historic and current needs of Haiti even before the earthquake and how the people of Haiti are resourceful. When she returned home, the TV pictures of food aid being thrown at people and a foreign military presence patrolling streets of desperate people upset her. The Haitians she works with are hardworking and persevering despite hardships. She told us our help is not always good help or compassionate help. An example, North American volunteers building projects that local people could build and get paid for to support their families.

This lead into a presentation by Sylvia Scott, RN, a Kenyan and Canadian, who dedicates her life to improving the villages near her original home in Kenya. She emphasized that Canadians or “developed world” volunteers should not be discouraged and that nurses and people like Yvonne Martin  make a difference. Sylvia was so impressed with the strangers giving out inoculations that she ended up finishing school and after immigrating to Canada, she returned to help her village. She emphasized that development and change must come from the people being helped themselves. They must decide what they need and they must be in control of their lives, not well meaning strangers.  The people of Sylvia’s village wanted a clinic built. It was built but then they found out they needed electricity and clean water and supplies to run it. Not to mention basic health and irrigation for crops. So they have moved forward with projects for those needs, including micro-businesses.

Diego Marquez-Leon, a male nursing student immigrant from Columbia then spoke. He decided to go somewhere in the world that would be the last place he would want to go. He chose India because he doesn’t like spicy Indian food. That choice led him to work in the slums and in a home for AIDS orphans. He found many rewards and some challenges such as the fact they worked with only the equivilant of a first aid kit.

Jill Gale, RN from Grand River Hospital talked about the hospital pairing with a hospital in Jamaica. Jamaica, where we go as tourists to richly appointed resorts while many of the citizens are mired in poverty and do not have universal health care.  Donors from the States had given the hospital sophisticated equipment but it sat on a balcony rusting because no one knew how to use it or fix it.  The people from Grand River taught “artisans”, basically untrained workers, how to fix the equipment the hospital had and the nurses taught the Jamaican maternity nurses a simple technique for reviving new-born babies that thrilled the people at the Jamaican hospital. Air Canada donated equipment for a birthing room and the artisans were taught how to maintain it. Jamaican nurses came to Canada to learn our techniques for running operating rooms and keeping supplies. A Jamaican doctor came to Canada and taught our doctors and nurses how to do breach births instead of relying on Caesarians.

I am always amazed at the number of people going about quietly changing the world for the better.

The morning gave all of much food for thought or “reflections” as the nurses call it on how to do foreign development and aid well and how to do it badly. A necessity as the world works with Haiti to recover.

Mayor’s and Nurses’ Breakfast for Haiti

The breakfast for Haiti this morning at RIM park gave the attendees much more than a simple tribute to Yvonne Martin and the raising of almost $10,000. Various speakers inspired with their own experiences in needy areas.

Betsy Wall, from the Foundation for International Development Assistance works with Haitian agriculture and was in the earthquake. She spoke about the historic and current needs of Haiti even before the earthquake and how the people of Haiti are resourceful. When she returned home, the TV pictures of food aid being thrown at people and a foreign military presence patrolling streets of desperate people upset her. The Haitians she works with are hardworking and persevering despite hardships. She told us our help is not always good help or compassionate help. An example, North American volunteers building projects that local people could build and get paid for to support their families.

This lead into a presentation by Sylvia Scott, RN, a Kenyan and Canadian, who dedicates her life to improving the villages near her original home in Kenya. She emphasized that Canadians or “developed world” volunteers should not be discouraged and that nurses and people like Yvonne Martin  make a difference. Sylvia was so impressed with the strangers giving out inoculations that she ended up finishing school and after immigrating to Canada, she returned to help her village. She emphasized that development and change must come from the people being helped themselves. They must decide what they need and they must be in control of their lives, not well meaning strangers.  The people of Sylvia’s village wanted a clinic built. It was built but then they found out they needed electricity and clean water and supplies to run it. Not to mention basic health and irrigation for crops. So they have moved forward with projects for those needs, including micro-businesses.

Diego Marquez-Leon, a male nursing student immigrant from Columbia then spoke. He decided to go somewhere in the world that would be the last place he would want to go. He chose India because he doesn’t like spicy Indian food. That choice led him to work in the slums and in a home for AIDS orphans. He found many rewards and some challenges such as the fact they worked with only the equivilant of a first aid kit.

Jill Gale, RN from Grand River Hospital talked about the hospital pairing with a hospital in Jamaica. Jamaica, where we go as tourists to richly appointed resorts while many of the citizens are mired in poverty and do not have universal health care.  Donors from the States had given the hospital sophisticated equipment but it sat on a balcony rusting because no one knew how to use it or fix it.  The people from Grand River taught “artisans”, basically untrained workers, how to fix the equipment the hospital had and the nurses taught the Jamaican maternity nurses a simple technique for reviving new-born babies that thrilled the people at the Jamaican hospital. Air Canada donated equipment for a birthing room and the artisans were taught how to maintain it. Jamaican nurses came to Canada to learn our techniques for running operating rooms and keeping supplies. A Jamaican doctor came to Canada and taught our doctors and nurses how to do breach births instead of relying on Caesarians.

I am always amazed at the number of people going about quietly changing the world for the better.

The morning gave all of much food for thought or “reflections” as the nurses call it on how to do foreign development and aid well and how to do it badly. A necessity as the world works with Haiti to recover.

H1N1 Swine Flu

first of all, unlike the hockey players and hospital board members in Toronto, Regional Councillors have NOT been given the H1N1 vaccine. (and some of us have the flu to prove it!) We are supposed to have the “show clinic” on November 17. This is the media event where we get the shot each year to show the public its safe.  With the shortage of vaccine, I don’t know whether this will even happen this year.

The lack of vaccine is caused by a shortage. In fact the vaccine has been developed and tested in record time, but it takes time to manufacture. More vaccine is due next week.

Although doctors are getting 85% of the vaccine, the high number of GPs mean, for instance, that my doctor only got 50 doses last week.  Hopefully there will suddenly be a large supply.

Here is the latest update from public health:

·         There continues to be increased influenza activity in Waterloo Region:

o   Since Sept 1, 171 cases of influenza A, at varying stages of confirmation of strain – expecting vast majority, if not all, to be H1N1.

o   Forty-five cases have been hospitalized as of Sept. 1.  Most have been discharged.  Confirmed cases are skewed towards hospitalized and/or severely ill patients.  Most cases of H1N1 overall are still mild to moderate.

o   No H1N1-confirmed deaths to date in Waterloo Region.

o   Schools absenteeism rates slightly lower than the previous week.

o   Emergency room visits for influenza-like illness have started to decrease in the last couple of days.

  

·         Approximately 85% of family doctors are providing the H1N1 flu vaccine to their patients.  We are asking the public to call their doctor first to find out if they can get their H1N1 flu shot from them.

 

·         Pregnant women are invited to call the health unit at 519-883-2272 to make an appointment to receive their vaccine at the Public Health office in Waterloo or Cambridge.

 

·         Public Health recently announced an additional H1N1 immunization clinic for Saturday, November 7.  The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. David’s Secondary School (4 High St.) in Waterloo.  Due to the limited supply of vaccine, at this time, Public Health H1N1 immunization clinics are for priority targets only.

 

·         At the public health clinics, people will be required to verify that they and/or their family members are in a priority group before being immunized.  Priority targets who are eligible to receive the vaccine are:

o   People under 65 years of age with chronic conditions (e.g. diabetes, cancer, asthma, etc.)

o   Children 6 months to under 5 years of age

o   Pregnant women

o   Health care workers (health care workers involved with the pandemic response or delivery of essential health services)

o   House contacts and care providers of persons at higher risk who cannot be immunized (e.g. children under 6 months) or who may not respond to vaccines (e.g. those who are immune-compromised)

 

·         Region of Waterloo Public Health released a “H1N1 and Breastfeeding Questions and Answers” Information Sheet –  http://www.waterlooregionpandemic.ca/en/

 

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Note: the number of confirmed cases will sem low because only those hospitalized are tested for H1N1. Dr. Wang says, “If you have the flu it is likely swine flu.”