Osler in India and Pakistan: A rewarding experience

This week’s guest blogger is Susan deRyk, Joint VP, Service Quality & Community Relations and Co-Lead of the Sun Life Financial Osler Global Health Program

We live it every day, but some things really bring Osler’s Vision: Patient-Inspired Health Care without Boundaries to the forefront. For 17 days in March and early April, I had the privilege of participating in the Sun Life Financial Osler Global Health Program’s third tour to India and Pakistan. This was a humbling experience, a life changing event, and profoundly demonstrated how the Osler community embraces our Vision.

It was a rewarding and humbling experience to be part of this extraordinary team focused on accepting the challenge of caring for patients in an environment with limited resources on the other side of the world.

The team returned in mid-April, and having had a chance to reflect on our experience, which was packed with more highlights than we could capture in our daily blogs, we were pleased to share more insights through staff information sessions held earlier this month.

In India, we continued to build on partnerships established over the past two years with the Dayanand Medical College & Hospital (DMCH) in Ludhiana and the staff and nursing students at Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha Dental College & Hospital (SKSS) in Sarabha village.

We spent almost three days at DMCH, working with staff and physicians from the mental health and addictions program and emergency medicine, to exchange ideas about patient triage, assessment and care planning. The nursing staff was enthusiastic to implement some of the processes we use at Osler, especially group counselling for patients.

What struck many of us while at DMCH was the level of involvement of families in the delivery of patient care. This collaborative approach has inspired Osler to develop a Family Presence Policy that will enable families to better support their loved ones in hospital. As part of our partnership agreement, we have both committed to reporting back to each other on the initiatives we have agreed to launch before our next trip.

At SKSS, the team helped provide care at two medical camps for local villagers that focused on diabetes education and screening as well as mental health and addictions. These camps offered much-needed care as we provided care and treatment for 500 people in two days! With these volumes it gave us a taste of home away from home, as did the incredible hospitality we were shown at every turn. It was heartwarming to be welcomed into their community to share their customs, and traditions.

Following our experience in India, the team connected in Karachi, Pakistan with program co-lead Dr. Naveed Mohammad to visit two of ChildLife Foundation’s free paediatric emergency departments, as well as ChildLife’s sister organization, SINA Health, Education, and Welfare Trust (SINA), which operates 17 primary care clinics in the poorest neighborhoods of Karachi. With extremely limited resources, but impressive resourcefulness and organization, these organizations care and treat more than a million patients every year.

As we toured a number of facilities with SINA, we saw firsthand the challenges that limited resources, and a patient population with poor literacy and high rates of poverty, pose on this organization. Together, we identified many opportunities for partnership and are excited to explore more in the coming months.

It is a true privilege to contribute our expertise in areas around the world while also gaining invaluable insights about caring for the patients we serve at home. We look forward to continuing to build strong relationships abroad that will help us better support patients and families in our own communities.


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