President’s Update – September 2019
Caitlin (Cait) Yeager
When we established Giving Health To Kids (GHTK) in 2007, we had no idea whether we would be successful or not. We did not know if we would be welcomed in another country – whether the government or the hospitals would feel we were being presumptuous in offering our help. You are probably aware of our history by now and how shocked we were at the neonatal death ratein Guyana. Fortunately for us, we were welcomed with open arms by the government, the hospitals and the medical and nursing staff. They truly felt that if we could work with them and support them in their efforts, they would work alongside.
GHTK was fortunate to gather a dedicated and committed Board of Directors with one goal and that was to move forward to help the babies and their families. From the outset, we did not want to just fundraise and buy much needed equipment for the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU), we wanted to establish a sustainable program. We are proud to say this is what we have done.
True, we have bought the most up-to-date incubators, transport monitors, cpap machines – we have been able to provide equipment for each NICU in Guyana’s hospitals. We also heard from the hospitals’ medical and nursing staff that they would like us to establish educational programs to support their ongoing professional development. To this end, we were able to establish a 3-year Paediatric Residency Program for physicians and a hospital-based Nenonatal Nursing certificate.
We had incredible suport from McMaster University, Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the US, the Hospital for Sick Children to name a few. They were there to guide us to determine what we needed to do and today, 18 physicians have graduated from the Paediatric Residency Program and 70 nurses have received their NICU Certificate.
Several members of the GHTK Board were involved in establishing these programs: Dr Leif Nelin, from Nationwide, Dr. Shirley Sit from Humber River, Dr. Andrea Hunter from McMaster and Caitlin (Cait) Yeager, from Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Cait has been the driving force behind the nursing program and we thought it was appropriate that she would be the first Board member we would write about in our Update.
Cait has worked hard to develop the Nursing Certificate Program and she did this in cooperation with the Nursing Administration at Georgetown Public Health Corporation (GPHC), the University of Guyana and members of the board. The Univerity of Guyana is so pleased with the program that they are moving it to a Bachelor’s Degree in Neonatal Nursing this fall.
Not only has Cait designed and developed the program, she also goes to Guyana (and now Antigua) to teach it. She has established a team of volunteer nurses in both the US and Canada who also take turns in visting the country for one or two weeks at a time to teach. They use their vacation time from their full-time jobs, GHTK provides their air fare and the hospitals in Guyana and Antigua provide the accommodation during their stay in the country. Cait also skypes into teaching programs on a regular basis.
She has assisted in the training of all 5 Nursing Cohorts and continues to mentor the Lead Nurse Educator in Guyana. While not Guyanese by birth, Cait has developed a love of the country and she feels humbled to have the opportunity to serve the people of Guyana, by making a real difference in the lives of neonates and their families.
Cait is very proud to share with the supporters of GHTK that two nurses from the NICU Training Program were recognized in September for nursing excellence,at the Annual Meeting of the Guyana Nursing Association. Nurse Michelle Pompey is a graduate of the GHTK 2014 program and currently serves as the NICU Nurse Manager at GPHC. Hermantram Jagdeo is a graduate of the GHTK 2017 program and is a Nurse at New Amsterdam Hospital. At the meeting, the President of the Association spoke of the importance of investing in the training of nurses and recognition of the roles of nurses and midwives in strengthing primary health care.
The words of the Chair of the Board of Directors of GPHC are worth repeating “The individual performance of each nurse contributes to the perception of and regard for the nursing profession. When you perform your duties with excellence, you are making a contribution to the common good; you are encouraging high standards among all your peers, and setting an example for those who will come after you. And most importantly, when a nurse performs with excellence, he or she is making a real impact on good health and well-being”.
Cait’s individual performance, as a nurse and as a member of the Board of GHTK, is beyond exemplary. We knew when she joined us in 2012 that we were very lucky to have someone of her calibre, and we are very proud of the work she has done to support our work in Guyana and now as we have moved into Antigua.
Thank you Cait for your belief in our organization and all the work you have done to further such positive relationships with our colleagues in Guyana and Antigua.
In our October Update, we will let you know about the equipment we buy!
9th Annual Gala – Saturday, November 2, 2019
The days are getting shorter and soon our Annual Gala will be here – if you have not bought your ticket yet, there is still time. Individual tickets are $125.00 and a tax receipt will be issued after the event. A table of 10 is $1,250.00. Our theme this year is “Masquerade”. The Gala is the major fund raising endeavour for GHTK and we need your support more than ever in 2019 so we can continue our work in Guyana and now Antigua.
Our goal this year is to raise $100,000–for those not familiar with our history we like to call ourselves “the little charity that could”. We have enormous heart and our organization is run completely by volunteers – 95% of the funds we raise are used to purchase much needed equipment for the NICUs in Guyana and Antigua, and to support the educational programs for physicians and nurses.
However, we cannot continue to improve things for the babies, their parents or the professionals who look after them, without your help. Please take a moment to purchase your tickets for the GHTK Gala now – just e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com
Please visit our updated Website at:www.ghtk.ca
As always, our goal is to provide you, our supporters, with regular updates on our activities and we welcome your feedback and questions always.
Thank you so much for your support.“Every child deserves a tomorrow”
Dr. Narendra Singh, President GHTK
Giving Health To Kids (GHTK), 2365 Finch Avenue West, Suite, 203, Toronto, Ontario M9M 2W8
Charity Registration # 805 814 316 RR0001