From Saint-Laurent to Ma­la­wi

Les Nouvelles Saint-Laurent - - NEWS - So­nia No­reau so­nia.no­reau@tc.tc

This spring, six stu­dents from the Va­nier Col­lege nur­sing de­part­ment will tra­vel to the Re­pu­blic of Ma­la­wi to do hu­ma­ni­ta­rian work. That trip is part of a student ex­change pro­gram. The pur­pose: to pro­vide health care to the po­pu­la­tion and learn nur­sing prac­tices in a ve­ry dif­ferent context.

Me­lo­die Hicks, a nu­sing tea­cher at Va­nier Col­lege is in charge of the tra­ve­ling pro­ject with a group of young people com­ple­ting their trai­ning. To­ge­ther they stay in Ma­la­wi for this six weeks in­ter­n­ship ta­king place in a ru­ral cli­nic and an ur­ban hos­pi­tal in Ma­la­wi.

"The big­gest pro­blems are ma­la­ria, tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and AIDS-re­la­ted ill­nesses: di­seases that conti­nue to plague de­ve­lo­ping coun­tries. Ill­nesses the de­ve­lo­ped coun­tries don’t have to wor­ry about, says the tea­cher. In these cases, treat­ment is ac­cess to me­di­cine. We have ac­cess to health care ser­vices, and drugs. If we get an in­fec­tion, we can get an­ti­bio­tics. They can’t so they can die of a simple pneu­mo­nia," says Ms. Hicks.

Ms. Hicks and her stu­dents will each car­ry a mo­bile me­di­cal kit pre­pa­red by the or­ga­ni­sa­tion Health Part­ners In­ter­na­tio­nal of Ca­na­da. With that kit, they will bring $ 5 000 worth of me­di­cal sup­plies such as vi­ta­mins, an­ti­bio­tics and anal­ge­sics. The kit contains en­ough drugs to treat 600 people.

Rough time ahead

The stu­dents will be sho­cked by what they’ll see, says the nurse. "It’s a life chan­ging ex­pe­rience. Two of them have ne­ver left Que­bec! There is lot of work to do out­side of their re­gu­lar classes to pre­pare them for what they are going to see. They will have lin­guis­tic les­sons and sen­si­bi­li­ty trai­ning to eth­no­cen­trism", says Ms. Hicks.

Vo­lun­teers are ea­ger to leave the country and face to the chal­lenges ahead. Ja­nie Ploudre, one of the tra­ve­ling stu­dents, be­lieves that "to be a nurse, you must be­lieve in the va­lues of equa­li­ty, equi­ty and so­li­da­ri­ty with other coun­tries."

Jen­ny­fer R. Bel­val, who is al­so going to Ma­la­wi, in­tends to use what she will have lear­ned du­ring the trip. "I am going abroad to learn how to pro­vide health care ser­vices to fo­rei­gners in or­der to do it for the mul­ti­cul­tu­ral po­pu­la­tion of Mon­treal. I am loo­king for­ward to come back and know how to cure people with lit­tle ma­te­rial", she adds.

The stu­dents are cur­rent­ly fun­drai­sing to fi­nance their tra­vel and me­di­cal kits which cost $ 575. To make a tax-de­duc­tible do­na­tion, you can vi­sit the www.va­nier­col­le­ge­foun­da­tion.com. If you want your do­na­tion to go di­rect­ly to this pro­ject, you must spe­ci­fy it in the form. There will al­so be a bake sale du­ring the Va­nier Col­lege Open house event on No­vem­ber 3rd.

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