A first in Canada: Childbirth at the Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts hospital to be transmitted to Afghanistan through videoconferencing

    SAINTE-AGATHE-DES-MONTS, QC, Nov. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - The Centre de santé
et de services sociaux (CSSS) des Sommets - Sainte-Agathe hospital and health
and social services centre - may be making history. The
Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts hospital is preparing to transmit a birth to
Afghanistan, through videoconferencing. The pilot project results from a wish
expressed by a couple from the Laurentians, and the willingness shown by the
hospital and the Canadian Forces, which led in the end to a partnership
agreement. A serviceman currently participating in the Canadian mission in
Afghanistan, and his wife, will be able to live this happy event together in
spite of the tens of thousands of kilometres that separate them, thanks to
this technology which is a major communications advance.
    Last September the Canadian Forces and the CSSS des Sommets management
launched discussions to analyze the feasibility of this pilot project, and the
parties agreed on the steps needed for working together. The couple's wishes
have been the priority all through the discussions, and will remain so at the
time of the actual birth which will occur, in strictest privacy, towards the
middle of December. In principle, the serviceman should be in Quebec to be
present at the birth. If this is not the case, however, all the preparations
required to use the videoconferencing technology will have been made.
    Communications between Canada and Afghanistan depend on standards of
military security and the operational constraints of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts
Hospital, with the goal of ensuring the quality of communication between the
towns of Kabul and Saint-Agathe-des-Monts. Since 2006 the CSSS des Sommets has
had facilities in place permitting its staff and physicians to take part in
distant meetings and training sessions offered by other institutions in the
health and social services or university networks. The primary role of the
equipment is to support ongoing professional and medical training within the
institution. As regards the pilot project of transmitting a birth to
Afghanistan, the challenge will be to ensure that the videoconference
technology installed in the delivery room fully respects the human dimension
appropriate to this event.
    The CSSS des Sommets team is currently working to make its
mother-child-family centre an environment suitable for having the two parents
living in with their newborn. At the same time, a process has been undertaken
to obtain the "Friends of babies" certification launched by UNICEF and the
World Health Organization, which aims to promote and support breastfeeding.
The Laurentians and Pays-d'en-Haut medical foundation called the Fondation
médicale des Laurentides et des Pays-d'en-Haut has also made this initiative a
priority within the framework of its major intergenerational fundraising
campaign, which is currently underway. Every year more than 600 mothers choose
to give birth to their child at the Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts Hospital.

For further information:

For further information: Alain Paquette, Conseiller aux communications
et à la qualité des services à la clientèle, Centre de santé et de services
sociaux des Sommets, Direction générale - Service des communications, (819)
324-4088, alain.paquette.sommets@ssss.gouv.qc.ca

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