Learning from each other
My days have been filled with workshops and training sessions scheduled back to back. Never a dull moment. There were two major occasions when delegates from different countries presented their most successful health projects. One was the activities fair; the other the poster fair. The former was based on advocacy projects; the latter on health promotion/prevention. Even though the projects were developed in response to the corresponding population needs, many of the topics also resonated Québec’s population needs. To give you an idea, there were projects on raising awareness on prostate cancer and suicide prevention among medical students and on improving communication between special populations like the mute/deaf and physicians by implementing a sign language class for medical students.
The Brazilians had an amazing project – United by Blue. Medical students had an interview with the media and got the national soccer team to wear their blue mustache on their uniform on the left chest upon entering the stadium at the beginning of a game. There was also a huge blue ribbon in the center of the field. At the same time, medical students distributed pamphlets on prostate cancer to the spectators, totaling 10K people. Since the game was aired on TV, it also reached over 50K people at home. Not only that, but to date, the opening ceremony has been viewed by 1.5 million people on Youtube. The blue mustache became a familiar logo for prostate cancer to the Brazilians, just as the pink ribbon became known for breast cancer. If the right people, the right occasion, and the right media are present in a project, success is inevitable.
There were many other fascinating projects. All very inspiring. Québec’s Zombie Hungry for Organ Donation project was among them. Many delegates were impressed by the simplicity of the project and the impact it has had on improving the number of donated organs for transplantation. Many participants asked permission to replicate it in their countries. In fact, the project went on to win the best poster in the fair. I am so proud to be a delegate from Québec.
By the end of those fairs, I concluded that, should I have the opportunity to develop and implement a health project, I have colleagues to whom I could reach out for guidance and advice. We will learn from each other.