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MSF CANADA MAGAZINE | Volume 21 | Edition 2 | Summer 2016
Canadians find valuable ways to
support MSF's lifesaving work
Thanks to the backing of thousands of committed donors, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is able to provide care for millions of people in need. But beyond financial donations, we also rely on the volunteer services of many different Canadians across the country, including those with particular forms of expertise. We asked two supporters about what contributing to MSF means to them:
By Chloe Grande
Raising community awareness
Silken Stone-Janzen’s family has supported MSF for as long as she can remember. In fact, the organization’s work played a key role in the second-year medical student’s decision to enter the healthcare field. “I’ve always believed in the work MSF does — their staff is selfless, passionate and inspiring,” she says.
Stone-Janzen is currently the president of the Friends of MSF Edmonton group, a student-run club at the University of Alberta. Her job, along with the other executive members, is to decide how they are going to support MSF, as well as engage the community in issues surrounding humanitarian aid.
The group has organized activities from charity runs to clinical-skills nights, where medical students can get a taste of what it’s like to work in the field with MSF.
“MSF’s fundamentals are the fundamentals of healthcare — everyone has a right to equal care regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion or socioeconomic status,” Stone-Janzen says. “To me, MSF’s desire to help those who are unable to help themselves is a goal which I will strive to achieve in my future practice and a value I hope to always uphold.”
developing essential tools
When the Ebola epidemic that devastated parts of West Africa last year was at its peak, MSF found itself almost single-handedly managing a complex global health emergency involving a relatively little-known disease. A poor understanding of how the virus works contributed to international panic and made efforts to contain Ebola even more difficult — so in addition to its front-line medical response, MSF also set out to educate people about the disease.
Andrea Bielecki is the president of INVIVO, a Canadian digital agency that specializes in medical animations. She says that watching the crisis unfold made her realize that she could help do something about it. “The devastating outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa hit me hard,” she says. “It was important to me that we were able assist MSF to accelerate its education and communication.”
INVIVO partnered with MSF Canada to create a short, detailed animation that showed how the Ebola virus worked, and explained the basic medical impact of transmission and infection. The high-quality video was widely shared both with the public and with the partner agencies whose help MSF needed to continue its fight against the outbreak in West Africa.
“I believe there is much more research and education to be done [with Ebola],” Bielecki says, “so personally, I’m happy we were able to contribute in a small way.”
“One of our missions is to improve overall human health, and I can’t think of a better way to realize that vision than to partner with MSF,” she says. “Life is short and we should all do whatever we can to make this world a better place.”
Chloe Grande is a communications intern with MSF Canada.
In This issue
from the executive director
a humane response
Displacement has always been at the heart of MSF's work, but never before have so many people been in need of our help
Letter from the field
The next Generation
In Lebanon, a physician from PEI sees hope for the future among Syrian refugee families