The International Outreach Program is a program run through the St Joseph’s healthcare system, which is designed to increase the capacity for health care delivery in developing nations. Most importantly, what it does right now is take selected trainees from countries in the developing world, including Haiti, Guyana and Uganda, and it brings them to Canada for focused training for a period between three months and a year.
Increased capacity is a fundamental part of the program, and the reason why we focus on increasing capacity is, it’s very easy for somebody like me as a practicing hematologist and clinician to go to Uganda, and do a clinic for a couple of weeks, but when I leave I don’t leave anything behind. What we train physicians to do, is to come here, to learn how to deliver health care services, to go back to Uganda, so that they can deliver health care services as an expert, but more importantly so that they can train other people to deliver those services. So instead of getting one or two weeks of my time on the ground in Uganda, we get a lasting legacy from our ability to train people, to train others.
The concept of training a doctor or donating a doctor is one that’s really important to the program. I costs money to bring physicians here from the developing nations that we work in. And the donation that you as somebody that is watching this video or participating in the program gives to us is used directly to support the training of those doctors. It pays for the costs of getting the doctors here, for the costs of their accommodation.
We are fortunate that there are no fees that are applied by McMaster University or the other health care settings within which we work. The training itself is free, but the costs are around getting the person here, providing them housing and food and all of the ancillary things that it takes for a person to live here for a period of between three months and a year. Donations to the International Outreach Program are used to directly support the costs of training a doctor, so that when they go back to their developing nations, they can provide care and train others.