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Joint Canadian-Ukrainian Course on Global Health took place in TSMU

On May 15-25, 2018 Ternopil State Medical University hosted a joint Canadian-Ukrainian course Global Health. This course was developed within the framework of cooperation between TSMU and MacEwan University (Edmonton, Canada). Course participants included 20 students of MacEwan University Faculty of Nursing, and 8 students of TSMU Faculty of Medicine. Leaders and developers of the course from the Canadian side were Elizabeth Burgess-Pinto, RN, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Department of Nursing Science, and Christine Shumka, RN, MN, BScN, Nurse Educator at the Faculty of Nursing, MacEwan University. TSMU organizers were Svitlana Yastremska, PhD, MScN, Director of the Institute of Nursing; Anna Saturska, D.Med.Sc., Head of the Department of Social Medicine, Organization and Economics of Health Care and Medical Statistics; Yurii Petrashyk, PhD, Associate professor of the same Department; Nataliia Petrenko, PhD, BScN, Associate professor of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology №2, and Nataliya Haliyash, PhD, MScN, Associate professor, Department of Pediatrics №2.

The aim of the course was to familiarize students with the challenges of globalization, which are inextricably linked to global health issues, and to communicate Sustainable Development Goals, officially known as “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” that were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015. The concept of sustainable development underpins the three main points of view: economic, social and environmental. It means the adoption of measures aimed at optimal use of scarce resources and the use of environmentally friendly technologies, saving nature, energy, and resources to preserve stability of social and cultural systems, and maintain integrity of biological and physical natural systems. Since both Ukraine and Canada are members of the United Nations, they must actively participate in the implementation of programs and measures to implement 17 global goals for sustainable development. ( , ).

An equally important goal of the course was to familiarize Canadian students with Ukraine, in particular with the work of a health care system using resources than health care system in Canada, and to promote convergence and better communication between the students of MacEwan University and TSMU.

On May 16, the participants had an introduction to the course program. They listened to a lecture Sustainable Development Goals and were assigned tasks to develop group projects covering the topic. Later in the day, course organizers and participants received a visit from TSMU rector, Prof. Mykhailo Korda.

Ukrainian teachers and students enjoyed learning new many interactive approaches used by Canadian instructors. To get everyone to know each other, all participants were divided into mixed groups and received a task to not only to present another person, but also give some interesting information about the new team members.

This approach immediately generated many discussions, active communication and positive emotions.

To encourage students, teachers first presented themselves.

Though the course dealt with a global issue, teaching approach actively employed teamwork. After being assigned into new groups, the students received a task to write down a definition of a good team using a felt-tip marker. While all the members of the group had to be involved in the task, it was not allowed use hands when writing with the marker.

Canadian guests had the opportunity to visit TSMU buildings and facilities, in particular the Museum of Human Anatomy, which generated to a great deal of enthusiasm.

On May 17, Head of the Department of Social Medicine, Organization and Economics of Health Care and Medical Statistics, Associate Professor Anna Saturska and Associate Professor Yurii Petrashyk gave lectures Local Aspects of the Health Care System in Ukraine. Health Care Reform in Ukraine: Priorities and Future Directions and Historical and Local Contexts of Global Health. The talks presented analysis of global trends and changes in health indicators and compared health care systems in Canada and Ukraine. After the lectures, course participants visited General Practice and Family Medicine Outpatient Clinic of No. 14 to learn about ongoing reform of primary health care in Ukraine.

On May 18, the classes were taught by Associate Professor Nataliia Petrenko classes. The day was dedicated to family planning issues. Students visited Women’s Consultation No. 1 to learn about its work. Among the important issues discussed on this day were the problems of family violence and surrogate motherhood. Course participants listened to a video lecture Family Violence by Dr. Judee Onyskiw, teacher of the MacEwan Faculty of Nursing.

On May 19, the guests from MacEwan University visited Ternopil Regional Clinical Psychiatric and Neurological Hospital, and surveyed its equipment for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of the patients. They also observed inpatient wards, rehabilitation programs, work of psychiatric and neurological departments, and learned about the duties, workload and recordkeeping of nursing staff in a psychiatric and neurological hospital.

On May 20, course participants learned more about Ternopil region visiting the Zbarazh Castle.

Associate professor Nataliya Haliyash taught the course on May 21, giving a class on vaccination. It should be noted that the third goal of sustainable development is “Good Health and Well-Being for People”. One indicator of achieving this goal is the proportion of people with free and uninterrupted access to medicines and vaccines. During the class, students listened to a lecture on the theoretical basis for immunization; later they worked in small groups to present the main manifestations of vaccine-preventable diseases, and name the respective vaccines. Another type of interactive work was a debate: one group of students advocated for vaccination, another lined up the facts against it, while the third concluded who was more persuasive, assessing the authenticity and scientific validity of the arguments.

Later, course participants learned about the work of vaccination offices in the Pediatric Outpatient Clinic, and Regional Children’s Hospital.

On May 22, on Ternopil Theater Square the students took part in a joint action Learn More About Hypertension. They measured blood pressure and gave surveys to Ternopil residents to find out whether they are aware of the factors that might lead to the development of arterial hypertension (excess body weight, bad habits such as smoking and alcohol abuse, lack of physical activity, poor diet, excessive use of salt, acute and chronic stress, and hereditary predisposition). Students educated the public  about risks of hypertension and the principles of healthy lifestyle that should be followed to prevent development of arterial hypertension.

In the afternoon, Ukrainian teachers and students conducted a workshop on making pierogi. Canadians from Edmonton are familiar with Ukrainian cuisine thanks to a large Ukrainian diaspora living there. However, for many of them it was the first time they made pierogi from scratch, including kneading the dough and pinching the dumpling. Everyone worked hard and since they already were very good at team work nobody went home hungry!

On May 23, Associate professor Nataliia Petrenko gave a class on HIV/AIDS prevalence in Ukraine and the world. Students had the opportunity to visit Ternopil Regional HIV Center.

On May 24, course participants visited Ternopil Regional Specialized Children’s Home to see the living quarters, learn about diagnostic, medical and rehabilitation approaches used in the facility, and study the work of teachers, a psychologist, and speech therapist. Students brought presents for the children and spent time talking and playing games with them.

On the closing day of May 25th, student groups presented their projects. They analyzed relevant regulatory acts, laws, and program approaches to the implementation of the goals of sustainable development in both Canada and Ukraine. Students demonstrated diligent work on presentations, as well as excellent team work.

Ukrainian organizers of the course would like to express their appreciation to Canadian students for their interest in Ukraine and active participation in this course and to Ukrainian students: Volodymyr Lukyanenko, Sergiy Lukyanenko, Natalya Sobolta, Grigory Matyuk, Yaryna Stepanyuk, Jana Gruntenko and Ostap Saturskiy for their hard work both in and out of the classroom. The organizers would like to thank to Canadian instructors Elizabeth Burgess-Pinto and Christine Shumka, who developed and implemented the joint Ukrainian-Canadian course, and to dean of the Faculty of Nursing of MacEwan University, Vince Salyers, who fully supported the project. Yuri Konkin, Director of MacEwan University Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre is a long-time friend of TSMU and had made an invaluable contribution to the implementation of this project. TSMU rector Prof. Mykhailo Korda and Director of the Institute of Nursing Svitlana Yastremska ensured logistical and organizational support during this course.

TSMU administration expresses gratitude to Matthew Shumka, Christine Shumka’s husband who brought funds bequeathed by his father Mr. Shumka, to contribute to the previously established scholarship for the best students of the Institute of Nursing.

Information about the course was provided by Nataliya Haliyash and Anna Saturska