Ourfive-year voluntary cooperation program with Global Affairs Canada(GAC) is now in its fourth year, and the volunteer cooperants who workin the field continue to share their know-how and skills to further expand the intervention capabilities that have been implemented over the past three years.
In thethree countries targeted by the program—Tanzania, Bolivia and Honduras—exchanges with local professionals are increasingly adapted to well-defined needs and issues, to ensure that dental, visual and homeopathic services are sustainable after the current program ends in 2020.
Considerable follow-up is planned to ensure that new skills are put into practice and adjustments are made as needed, with a view to providing better qualityof care. At the same time, the transfer of knowledge is ongoing, with theoretical and practical training in dentistry, optometry and homeopathy.
In Tanzania and Bolivia, we are bolstering clinical work in dentistry and optometry with continued training on the use of specialized equipment, diagnoses, various treatments, and the protection of patients and professionals.
In Honduras, six dispensaries are benefitting from the transfer of frontline and second-line homeopathy skills and the duplication ofhomeopathic remedies, while basic knowledge in family health through homeopathy is spreading thanks to training for new community leaders, health promoters and high school students.
In all three countries, screening and prevention methods for various problems and illnesses have also been implemented. The volunteer cooperants havemade these aspects of community health a priority by training local professionals and raising awareness among numerous stakeholders involvedin citizens’ groups, municipalities, health institutions and educational institutions, who then become multiplying agents.
TSF and itsvolunteers, who are now well established in two hospitals, six clinics and six dispensaries, and recognized by several decision-making bodies, can also address three cross-cutting themes: gender equality, which encompassesequal access to jobs in health institutions, for example; the environment,which involves, among other things, improved management of biomedical waste; and governance, which can be seen in the transparency ofexchanges with authorities and the population or enhanced organizational structures.
Raising awareness of progress made in the field and sharing the volunteer cooperants’ experiences are an integral part of our volunteer cooperation program. We recently participated in the Association des optométristes du Québec’s Salon Vision, the Canadian HomeopathicConference in Ontario and the Zero Waste Festival. We also discussed best practices at the annual conference for International Volunteering Cooperation Organisations (IVCO), which took place in Montréal this fall.