Forgotten Crises to CNN Emergencies – from South Sudan to Ebola

Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders talks at Canadian Club Halton Peel Dinner

Forgotten Crises to CNN Emergencies – from  South Sudan to Ebola
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Janet Bedford

Janet Bedford is a broker with Royal LePage in downtown Oakville, with 20 years of real estate experience. Along with helping her clients find the perfect home or sell their home, she is often found photographing the many events that take place in Oakville. She has written extensively for various publications. Janet is a graduate of MacMaster University.

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Having spent the month of August in South Sudan, Stephen Cornish, Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders Canada (“MSF”) enlightened the Canadian Club audience about the hardships, sad stories and miracles that included feats of heroism and co-operation amongst people who were at times “at war” with one another.

“There were times when a community buried five children a day,” stated Stephen.

His response to the overwhelming situation and the attitude of the MSF organization is, “If we cannot fix the bigger problem, we will attempt to fix the problem at hand and be thankful. Saving one life, one village or one camp at a time gives us reason to give thanks.”

Stephen is a passionate advocate for people in need and the issues relating to MSF’s international and humanitarian work. He feels very privileged to have a skill set that allows him to do something worthwhile.

“We must accept that we do not have all the answers. We must keep our compassion, do what we can during medical emergencies and deal with issues one at a time,” Stephen says,

According to the MSF website, www.msf.ca, since the outbreak of a civil conflict last December, more than a million people in South Sudan have been forced to leave their homes. Many are crammed into tiny protection camps, guarded from some of the worst violence outside the camps, but exposed to desperate living conditions within. MSF provides badly needed medical care in some of these camps, and works around the clock to prevent devastating outbreaks of disease. View Stephen Cornish’s video found on the web-site to begin to understand the enormity of the issues.

“If we cannot fix the bigger problem, we will attempt to fix the problem at hand and be thankful. Saving one life, one village or one camp at a time gives us reason to give thanks.”

When placed in extraordinary situations, people react in extraordinary ways. Over one hundred and sixty thousand Canadians have helped Doctors Without Borders, some with much needed money, others with service.

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has certainly challenged the organization. Most people hoped that the situation would resolve itself and go away. MSF found themselves alone trying to draw attention to the crisis. It has been difficult to explain to the world how this epidemic got so out-of-control. Ebola has usually been a medical problem that remained contained within remote villages whose inhabitants rarely travelled very far. This time, however, traditional burial rites and a lack of awareness of the danger of coming into contact with contagious people and corpses of the dead, contributed to the spread of Ebola.

The world is fortunate to have Doctors Without Borders staff and volunteers who are willing to help, often putting their lives on the line to help those who are less fortunate.

Canadian Club of Halton Peel’s next dinner
November 27th
Speaker: Microbiologist Jason Tetro: “The Germ Guy”
The next guest speaker in the Canadian Club of Halton Peel dinner program will be Microbiologist Jason Tetro: “The Germ Guy” who will talk about his book “The Germ Code; How to Stop Worrying and Love the Microbes”. The dinner will be held at the Oakville Conference Centre located at 2515 Wyecroft Road in Oakville on Thursday November 27th at 6pm.

About the Canadian Club of Halton Peel
Currently celebrating its 29th season, the not-for-profit, volunteer-driven, Canadian Club of Halton Peel has been presenting guest dinner speakers on a wide range of subjects since 1986. Reservations for the dinners can be made by e-mail (barrywylie1@gmail.com), by telephone (905-827-6302) or by mail (cheques payable to the Canadian Club of Halton Peel, 283 River Side Drive, Oakville, L6K 3N3).

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