Independent placements – Margaret Baron

Dolores, United Against Dementia

Margaret Baron recently jetted to the Philippines with the mission of boosting dementia awareness. As a Resuscitation Trainer and Nurse, Margaret came to CGHP with a bank of previous healthcare related experience overseas.

All is not well in paradise . . .

Her trip lasted a few days, but had a huge impact on the community of Dolores, Eastern Samar. Dementia is a prominent disease in the Philippines, and as the population continues to expand, so does dementia. Margaret noted that the disease is often misconceived, and believed to be a fundamental part of ageing. This lack of awareness has been compounded by the Government’s recent focus on child and maternal health, which of course leaves the ageing members of society left by the wayside.

“There are no care homes in Samar, and most especially, it is very rare to have a Geriatrician or Gerontology nurse in the vicinity.” – Margaret

With this in mind Margaret embarked on an awareness raising campaign. Her work was dynamic and varied, as she engaged in a host of activities. From a memory walk, symposium on Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults, deliberating with government officials, promoting the establishment of a ‘Meals on Wheels’ service, all the way through to extensive networking, Margaret’s awareness raising campaign attempted to cover all bases.

The trip had a significant impact, both at home and away. In the Philippines her work marked a monumental step toward boosting understanding and breaking down the stigma surrounding dementia. Fundamental to CGHP is the bilateral exchange of knowledge and experiences, both exported internationally, and brought home to us here in Cambridge. Margret stated that she would continue to share her experiences and sense of fulfilment with her fellow staff at CUH;

“Lastly, I would inspire them to go the extra mile and realize that the paradigm of health begins in every family home. The more we empower families to take ownership of their member’s health, the lesser the need to institutionalize frail elderly, which will eventually solve the problems in healthcare workers’ shortage and health budget as well”.

With a vast cohort of Filipino staff here at CUH, we recognise the value and importance of establishing a partnership with this part of the world. With a scoping team soon to fly out, we hope that Margaret’s trip marks the beginning of a long and prosperous partnership with the Philippines.