OTTAWA — International concern is growing in medical and development circles that the Trudeau government is about to step back from its much-publicized global leadership on eradicating AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
In 2016, Trudeau announced with fanfare that Canada was contributing $804 million to the Global Fund, a 24-per-cent increase to the international organization that aims to curb the three afflictions that are now widely seen as preventable with the proper amount of medical and financial support.
The increase in Canadian spending was in keeping with past bump-ups to the Global Fund’s replenishment drive every three years, both from the previous Conservative government of Stephen Harper and the Liberal governments before it.
But development officials in several organizations say they believe the government is simply planning to announce a repeat of 2016’s funding with no increase, which would be a first for Canada.
Chris Dendys, the executive director of Results Canada, a grassroots anti-poverty advocacy group, said that based on conversations that she and others in her sector have had with federal officials, the government is planning no increase because of a “cash crunch” heading into the fall election.
The Global Fund wants to see a 15-per-cent increase in total pledges this year, to US$14 billion.
A spokeswoman for International Development Minister Maryam Monsef said Canada respects the Global Fund and will announce its contribution in “due course.”
Canada recently announced at the Women Deliver conference in Vancouver that it will contribute $1.4 billion annually to 2030 to fund global health and nutrition, including sexual and reproductive rights and health, said Hanna Button, Monsef’s policy director.
“Our ongoing support to the Global Fund will be an important part of this holistic approach,” Button said in an emailed statement.
The Women Deliver funding is a reallocation of money from the current budget for international development.
“It’s really a matter of political will in an election year, or not an election year,” said Dendys, who noted that Canada’s overall spending on foreign aid has not been significantly increased under the Liberals to meet the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income.
She said the spending has not increased “beyond the basement of 0.26 per cent of GNI. There’s been plenty of opportunities to do the right thing.”
Canada’s last Global Fund pledge came at an international conference that Trudeau hosted in Montreal in September 2016, a star-studded event that featured U2 singer Bono, who founded the anti-poverty advocacy group, the One Campaign.
France will host this year’s pledging conference in October, in the middle of Canada’s federal election campaign, so advocates want to see Canada take the lead and deliver its increased pledge before the election writ is dropped, to show leadership to other countries.
Two other G7 countries, Britain and Japan, recently announced increased pledges of almost 17 per cent and five per cent respectively.
“Other countries are starting to move in that direction,” said Dr. Julio Montaner, the director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
“My bottom line is we want Canada to be not just counted but playing a leadership role, making an early pledge and in doing so, providing an example to the rest of the world.”
Montaner’s research led to the medical breakthrough that controlled and reduced the spread of HIV-AIDS in the late 1990s: the “triple cocktail” of antiretroviral drugs that has been credited with reducing mortality across the globe.
The approach has been replicated worldwide, and is now the cornerstone of the work of the Global Fund, he said.
“I am very hopeful that Prime Minister Trudeau will make an executive decision in short order to do the right thing,” Montaner said.
“He promised me, privately, before the (2015) election that he would do so. He did so in writing … I hope that he will be consistent with that kind of approach when it comes to supporting the Global Fund.”
Montaner said that with reduced funding the fight against the spread of HIV-AIDS will be curtailed and that will mean more long-term financial burdens on health care across the world.
About one-third of the Global Fund’s spending targets women and girls through programs aimed at comprehensive sexual and reproductive health, said Stuart Hickox, the executive director of the Canadian branch of One.
“If Canada doesn’t increase its support, it’s essentially a retreat from its leadership. We asserted that space in 2016 as a global leader in this area,” said Hickox.
Dr. Mark Dybul, who was the executive director of the Global Fund from 2013 to 2017, said Trudeau showed great leadership in 2016, mobilizing youth and creating a great sense of optimism at the 2016 Montreal event.
“I understand the pressures on budgets but I think given the leadership Canada had, in particular with this same prime minister and because of the emphasis on girls and women, I think it would be unfortunate if they didn’t follow the trend of the other donors and show a leadership role,” said Dybul, the co-director of the Centre for Global Health Practice and Impact at Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington.
Dendys said her organization has lobbied 30 MPs to push Trudeau to increase Canada’s support for the fund.
“What we’re hearing is Canada is going to keep its pledge to the Global Fund flat-lined, which really is a really a retreat in global leadership,” she said.
“Everyone we’ve spoken to has basically said, there’s just a cash crunch.”
Women and children are disproportionately affected by malaria and TB, which creates massive burdens on the health budgets of developing countries. Keeping up funding levels to help eradicate preventable diseases is in the economic interest of every country, especially with Africa’s population predicted to double by 2050, said Dybul.
“If they don’t have health, education and economic opportunity — you’re worried about refugees today? What do you think the world is going look like?” he said.
“It is necessary for the long-term growth of the global economy, Canada’s economy, and also so that we don’t have a continent collapsing.”
Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press
This is what overdose reversals means to me. An opportunity to save and change a life. By Chris Hancock
Todayville Edmonton supports local community efforts, the original source of this writing from: https://www.facebook.com/justaguywithapack
The day has been like any other (we see anywhere from 50 to 80 users per day). My attention is piqued by a sound, almost like a wheeze but accompanied by the heavy beating sound of a drum. That sound is a man violently hitting his chest.
This is the beginning of an overdose.
The man is standing and rocking back and forth, almost like a dance. This is normal for a person who is using drugs mixed with crystal meth and / or cocaine.
I look at the computer to see what he says the drug is and it says “fentanyl” which is a usual drug for him.
He is now starting to sweat profusely and it looks as though he has just finished running a marathon.
I call the nurse and tell her of my observations so far. He is now matching a person who is starting the scary road of overdose.
I approach and place my hand on his shoulder, it’s hot to the touch and sweat glistens on my medical glove. I ask him, “How’s it going buddy?” He cannot respond to me. He is still standing but his pupils are dilated and he’s rocking back and forth. What is missing is his breath, his voice, and his normally calm demeanor. His lips are turning a shade of blue/purple.
The nurse is now approaching after putting on gloves. I give her as much relevant information as I can before I prepare to step back and take an assistance role in the overdose situation.
I have been trained for years to do emergency response. I went to school for this. I cope with the stress by repeating directions and documenting the times and dates for
the significant markers that I know are about to follow.
He gets an SPO2 monitor put on his finger. This little machine gives the nurse information about his heart rate and how much oxygen is in his blood. As we wait in anticipation for the monitor to tell us his number I just keep hoping, wishing it is above the magic number of 66%. However, anything below 90% and the nurse will start to offer means to reverse or help ride out the overdose. Without oxygen getting to the brain there is a chance for brain damage.
His number is low and the nurse makes the call – “Chris I need the oxygen tank and you to predraw naloxone.” I repeat the instructions back so nothing is missed in the communication. This man’s life is in our hands.
The nurse has now put oxygen on the man and is reminding him to breath. He is now in a seated position and you can see the determination on his face to get that gasp of air. He can, and my inner being is cheering yes, you can do it; you can beat the overdose and come back. But the reality of the situation is the gasp is not even close enough to raise his oxygen levels out of the danger zone.
The nurse now asks him, “Do you want narcan?” My heart leaps with joy. This will help you, we can get off this ride, you have a way to get air! But his response is “no” and the cold reality of addiction slaps me in the face. The “no” “not yet” words were whispered as almost as a plea out of fear. My stomach is wrenched out and my heart that was just hurting before is now broken.
My thoughts stray.
What are you running from that not being able to breathe and having no control over your body is a better option?
I check myself.
I will never know someone’s past or their current pain unless they share it with me. When he recovers from this overdose, he might tell me.
So I patiently plea with the man. Your oxygen is low, you are in pain, and you are overdosing. Let us give you narcan so you can come back to us. Also, in the next room we have snacks.
With the oxygen remaining low the nurse makes it clear to the man naloxone is now needed and she informs him that we will be administering the medication. Recognition is now on the man’s face – he now understands and gives consent by nodding yes to the nurse. The nod reminds me of the many nods I’ve seen athletes give their coaches when they are ready to start the fight.
One of the staff hands me a needle ready and filled with the antidote to opioids. The next challenge begins. Since the man is moving so much it takes a few tries to get the needle in and the medicine administered. It takes 3 vials of narcan to reverse whatever the drug has done to his system.
The first words out of the man’s mouth are “I am sorry.” Here is why I do what I do. This is the moment where he may say to me “Chris, I am tired of all this and I need help. That shot almost killed me and I need to change my life.” In reality we talk: where he is living, what his plan is for his next meal. These conversations will lead to a better connection and understanding of his life story. They will build trust between us so when he’s ready, he will ask me for help.
He has now successfully recovered from the overdose and will now hang out for the next while in case the antidote wears off and he overdoses again.
My name is Chris Hancock and my current role is a harm reduction support worker.
This is what overdose reversals means to me. An opportunity to save and change a life.
Massive fines coming for students caught vaping. City teaming up with local high schools to strictly enforce bylaw
From The City of Red Deer, Red Deer Public Schools, Ecole La Prairie, and Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools
Enforcement of smoking bylaw at Red Deer high schools to curb student vaping
The City of Red Deer, in partnership with Red Deer Public Schools, Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools and École La Prairie, is enforcing vaping at Red Deer high schools.
Local schools are seeing an increase in the number of students vaping – or the use of an electronic cigarette – on school property. Under The City’s Smoke-Free Bylaw, vaping is prohibited in public spaces and workplaces, and within 10 metres of playgrounds, seasonal skating rinks, skate parks, sports fields, water spray parks, or toboggan hills.
“Community peace officers will enforce the Smoke-Free Bylaw at high schools in Red Deer which prohibits all forms of smoking including the use of e-cigarettes,” said Scott Tod, Municipal Policing Services Manager. “People in public spaces including workplaces are entitled to a safe environment and vaping puts others at risk.”
“We are seeing students from all grade levels using vaping products. With all high schools in Red Deer partnering with The City of Red Deer, we hope it will continue to educate our students on the health implications of tobacco and vaping,” said Rose McQuay, Principal atÉcole Secondaire Notre Dame High School.
“Student vaping has reached epidemic proportions among Red Deer youth. Not only have ourschools seen a significant increase in students using vaping products, it now ranks as the number one reason for student suspensions,” added Darwin Roscoe, Principal at Hunting Hills High School.
“With the use of The City of Red Deer Smoke-Free Bylaw, it gives us another tool to help enforce the no vaping policy at our school. We are grateful that all high schools in Red Deer are taking the same approach,” said Jean Doyon, Director at École la Prairie.
As per the bylaw, city enforcement will issue tickets to anyone (including students) caught violating the bylaw.
Students caught vaping on school property by a bylaw officer or RCMP member will receive a ticket for violating The City’s Smoke Free Bylaw, with the following fines:
- $200 for the first offense
- $500 for the second offense
- Up to $2500 for the third offense
In addition to the fine, students at Red Deer Public Schools and Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools will also receive suspensions from their schools.
Parents with questions are asked to contact their child’s high school administrator.
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