Canadian Physician in Zimbabwe Recognized by Royal College



    OTTAWA, June 19 /CNW Telbec/ - The Royal College of Physicians and
Surgeons of Canada is pleased to present the Teasdale-Corti Humanitarian Award
for the first time ever to Dr. Paul Thistle, FRCSC, who has built his life
around serving the people of rural Zimbabwe.
    "Where health is concerned, globalization is a reality-disease and
illness know no boundaries and we are increasingly interdependent in our
approach to solutions." says Dr. Louise Samson, FRCPC, Royal College
President. "The Royal College has a global reach with Fellows practising in
88 countries worldwide. Their contributions are valued and deserve to be
honoured."
    The Royal College launches the Teasdale-Corti Humanitarian Award in 2008
to recognize the work of Canadian physicians who go beyond normal expectations
to deliver health care worldwide.
    Dr. Thistle has been the chief medical officer of The Salvation Army
Howard Hospital in Glendale, Zimbabwe since 1995. In his time there,
Zimbabwe's life expectancy dropped to the lowest in the world. Faced with
monumental challenges, Dr. Thistle has kept his hospital's doors open
providing a high level of health care to a population suffering from poverty
and HIV/AIDS.
    "As part of the Teasdale-Corti Humanitarian Award, the Royal College is
proud to offer $5,000. on Dr. Thistle's behalf to The Salvation Army World
Missions." says Dr. Andrew Padmos, FRCPC, Royal College CEO. "This money is
expected to go along way in supporting Dr. Thistle's continued work at Howard
Hospital."

    The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is the national,
not-for-profit organization that oversees the medical education of specialists
in Canada by setting high standards for postgraduate medical education and
continuing professional development. In collaboration with health
organizations and government agencies, the Royal College also plays a role in
developing sound health policy in Canada.

    

                                 Backgrounder

    Paul Thistle: Multi-faceted physician excelling under pressure

    Dr. Paul Thistle, FRCSC, is graduate of the University of Toronto and a
specialist in obstetrics and gynecology. In 1995, he accepted a posting at The
Salvation Army Howard Hospital in rural Zimbabwe-a country characterized by
the World Health Organization as one "plagued by food insecurity, economic
crisis and one of the world's highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates."
    Dr. Thistle is a dedicated clinician. Of the three physicians at Howard
Hospital who attend to its 2,500 deliveries per year, he is the only
specialist. As a result, he is on call day and night to offer his expert
support. Dr. Thistle has been instrumental in bringing a number of critical
programs to the region. Among them, he secured USAID and Ministry of Health
funding in 2003 to start and maintain an antiretroviral program that currently
treats close to 1,200 patients.
    Dr. Thistle is a teacher and a researcher. He has taught and mentored many
students and residents whether from Zimbabwe, Canada or elsewhere. He has 20
publications to his credit on topics ranging from perinatal HIV transmission
to antiretroviral therapy and rural maternal health issues in developing
nations.
    Dr. Thistle is an advocate. He and his wife Pedrinah, a nurse and
midwifery instructor, facilitate funding for the education of 300 AIDS
orphans, also helping to mentor them. His "Hockey Night in Zimbabwe" is a
small example of an important outlet for play and social development for many
of these children. Dr. Thistle works 16-hour days and yet a holiday back to
Canada usually involves speaking engagements, educational events and advocacy
for international health, his hospital and his work.
    In June 2008, Dr. Thistle is receiving both the Royal College
Teasdale-Corti Humanitarian Award and an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the
University of Windsor, Ontario.

    Doctors Teasdale and Corti: A legacy of service in the developing world

    The Royal College's Teasdale-Corti Humanitarian Award is named in honour
of Dr. Lucille Teasdale, FRCSC, and Dr. Piero Corti, a physician couple who
devoted their professional careers to healing, teaching and improving the
condition of the population residing in the poverty-stricken Gulu region of
Uganda. For 35 years the couple served in this region, characterized by
frequent outbreaks of infectious diseases, and provided medical care
throughout nearly 25 years of Ugandan civil war and unrest. Their medical and
surgical skills saved thousands of lives; their teachings instilled hope for a
better future in many; and their perseverance transformed a small missionary
dispensary into the St. Mary's-Lacor Hospital, which is now a modern teaching
hospital and medical centre almost entirely staffed by Ugandan health care
professionals.
    




For further information:

For further information: Karen McCarthy, Cell: (613) 668-6465,
KMcCarthy@rcpsc.edu

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