Into the Warm Heart of Africa

Into the Warm Heart of Africa

Guest blogger: Dr. Rajiv Singal, Urologist & Surgeon, MGH
 
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Recently, I had the opportunity to share my medical expertise on the other side of the world in Malawi, a dusty, hot, sub-Saharan African country. As a urologist and surgeon practicing at Michael Garron Hospital, I’m proud of the care we provide. The Canadian health care system is not perfect, but in contrast to other parts of the world, our system provides access to all who come through our doors.
 
My work as a board member for Digitas International, a medical and research organization dedicated to improving health care for people facing a high burden of disease and unequal access to services, certainly showed me ways where and how I could give back and share my medical training and expertise.
 
I came to Malawi in my own personal attempt to understand what urology and surgery in a resource country might look like – and with the ultimate goal to improve training and leave something sustainable.
 
In terms of wealth, the people of Malawi are relatively poor, but rich in friendliness and hospitality. Almost everywhere I visited, I was met with warmth. They teasingly smile when I say “Mulibwanji” (hello) or “Zikomo” (thank you.) And despite the obvious lack of resources, there’s an abundance of compassion, dedication and a quiet grace and dignity with which most people live their lives.
 
I was indeed inspired by my two-week sojourn into the warm heart of Africa.
 
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For me, learning is lifelong. Growing means sometimes stepping out of my comfort zone and taking chances. I was given the gift of this wonderful adventure and opportunity and now I’d like to share it with you through my blog posts. I hope you enjoy my adventure and reflection and apply it to your practice too.
 
Enjoy the read. Click here.
 
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Behind the Frosted Glass Windows

Behind the Frosted Glass Windows

By Sarah Downey, President & CEO, MGH/TEHN
 
Many of us have driven or walked right by and not even given a second thought about what goes on inside. In fact, from the street, 985 Danforth Avenue looks totally unremarkable.
 
But behind the frosted glass windows lies a place where most of us have never been. It’s a place where many a healing journey has begun. 985 Danforth Avenue is home to one of the Toronto East Health Network’s (TEHN) community sites, the Withdrawal Management Centre (WMC).
 
Doug Smith, Manager, WMC has seen many folks come and go – many people like you and me. Because, you see, substance abuse does not discriminate. Substance abuse affects us all. It’s not, as many people believe, something that only affects those who are poor or homeless.
 
And the Network’s Withdrawal Management Centre sees both men and women, aged 16 years or older from all across the city and GTA. The folks who come here are usually in a state of intoxication, withdrawing from a substance or in a crisis regarding their substance abuse.
 
During the recent Accreditation process, one of the surveyors came back and told me they were so impressed by the Centre. They were astounded by the work that staff like Doug and Wil Lea, one of the long-time facilitators, do to help some of the most vulnerable people in the city.
 
And a few weeks ago, I took the opportunity to file this Dispatches from the Frontlines Video. Thank you to Doug, Wil and most importantly the clients of the Day Withdrawal program who allowed me to witness their vulnerabilities and sit in on one of the sessions.
 
Please take a few moments to watch and learn about some of the services in the Toronto East Health Network.
 

 
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