Speakers: Dr. Indu Gambhir & Ms. Barbara Sibbald
Date of the Event: September 13, 2009
Subject of the Talks
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF - Doctors Without Borders)
Dr. Indu GambhirTopic of Dr Indu Gambhir: India and how the two meet

MSF provides routine medical care to people afflicted with diseases whose treatment has been neglected. The organization also works in conflict areas to assist the local people in need of medical care. The medical care provided by MSF ranges from general medical care to specialized treatment for AIDS, sleeping sickness, tuberculosis, Kala Azar, malaria, malnutrition and psychological aid to victims of conflict, especially women.

MSF has been present in India for some time and has established missions in Kashmir, Assam, Bihar, Manipur, Bombay and Chatisgarh. MSF has been greatly assisted in its work by Indian generic drug manufacturers who have provided prescription drugs at low cost. This has enabled MSF to provide better care to the sick, not only in India but in other developing countries.

Indu’s experience working in Manipur provided her with insight to the medical needs of vulnerable populations and how conflict affects their health and well being. She will share these experiences with us.

More about Dr Indu Gambhir...

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Ms Barbara SibbaldTopic of Ms Barbara Sibbald: The forgotten people of Manipur

In November 2007 I spent a week at a Médecins sans frontières/Doctors without borders health project in Manipur, India researching an article on the humanitarian crisis, and in particular it's medical implications in that beleaguered, seemingly forgotten state.

Government funding destined for health care is "diverted" by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, with the result that even the most basic health care is largely unavailable to the vast majority of the people. Sadly, their need is great for a variety of reasons.

The porous border between Manipur and Myranmar means that drugs (in particular heroin) and arms readily enter the state. In addition, a 40-year civil war, involving numerous indigenous tribes, has resulted in the deaths of many people -- mostly men -- and general lack of security and peace. What this means in practical terms is a high rate of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, plus a fractured, fragmented social structure. I have published two articles about my experience in Manipur (Ottawa
Citizen and Canadian Medical Association Journal).

More about Barbara Sibbald ...

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Videos of the Event

Will be added after the event

Biography of Dr. Indu Gambhir

Indu was raised in India and completed her medical education there. She emigrated to Canada in 1969 and in 1972, started practicing medicine in Fredericton New Brunswick. In 1974, she moved to Cornwall, Ontario where she focused on emergency medicine. She was Chief of the Emergency Department of the Hotel Dieu Hospital and a founding member of the Canadian Association of emergency physicians. She was also a member of the Eastern Ontario District Health Council and chaired the Eastern Ontario Trauma Prevention Committee.

Indu has always had a particular interest is disaster management. While in Cornwall, she worked with hospital officials as well as the police and fire department to develop their capacity to respond to crisis situations. In the early 1990s, she was involved in the management of the crisis on the Akwesasne Indian reserve and helped coordinate the evacuation and post-evacuation care of residents.

Her front-line experience with police, fire and hospital personnel led her to examine more closely the stress experienced by first responders to critical incidents. She was instrumental in raising awareness of critical incident stress as a health issue and worked closely with first responders to develop coping mechanisms.

In 1993, she moved to Ottawa in 1993 and began working with the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA). At the CMPA, she co-led a study that examined the impacts of stress experienced by physicians as a result of complaints to their professional licensing bodies or to the courts.

After retiring from the CMPA in 2004, Indu joined Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). She has completed missions in Liberia, Sudan, India and Kenya and is currently the coordinator of the peer support network of MSF.

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Biography of Ms. Barbara Sibbald

Ottawa writer Barbara Sibbald has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 25 years in a wide range of media including The Ottawa Citizen, The Globe and Mail, Chatelaine, The Toronto Star, Canadian Geographic, Ottawa Magazine, fifth estate and others. In both 2005 and 2006, articles she co-authored received a citation in the Governor Genera’s Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service Journalism. Her writing has also garnered a National Magazine Award, Canadian Association of Journalist Investigative Reporting Award and Canadian Business Press KR Wilson awards. During the past 14 years she has specialized in medical communications and is currently the Deputy Editor, News and Humanities at the Canadian Medical Association Journal. She is also passionately devoted to writing fiction and has published 13 short stories in literary journals and a novel, Regarding Wanda (Bunkhouse Press, 2006, which was short-listed for the Ottawa book award. Her second novel is nearing completion.

Barbara with her mother in Varanasi in 2007Barbara's maternal great-grandfather was one-quarter Indian (a descendent of a British and Indian union) and her maternal grandmother, and mentor, was born and raised in India. She grew up on curries and chapatti, and has had a life-long fascination with the country. She made her first (and so far only) trip there for six weeks in 2007, travelling with her mother to Delhi, Varanasi and Kolkata (for a Hindu wedding), among other places. She plans to go back for a longer period to either teach journalism at a college as a guest lecturer or continue her work as a journalist in the country.

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