MSc Global Health program alumnus and award-winning pharmacist Eustace Orleans-Lindsay returned to McMaster this week to address a critical global health issue: equitable health care for migrant farm workers.
Orleans-Lindsay delivered a dynamic presentation, titled Interprofessional Global Perspectives from a Canadian Pharmacist, to a delegation from Thailand’s Ministry of Health who were visiting campus for the 11th Interdisciplinary Summer Institute.
The recipient of the 2015 Pfizer Bowl of Hygeia, an award presented to a pharmacist on the basis of outstanding service to the community, Orleans-Lindsay shared his own insights as a pharmacist in rural Ontario, where he has been involved in initiating innovative projects to help eliminate some of the systemic barriers migrant farm workers face in getting basic health care. He argued that the precarious nature of their employment is a social determinant of health inequalities.
“Although seasonal farm workers in this province are entitled to health care under OHIP, they face challenges around access – from time and transportation to language and literacy to a fear of loss of employment,” explains Orleans-Lindsay. “Because of a host of issues like these, they’re ultimately precluded from securing equitable health care,” he explains.
By drawing attention to the issues facing migrant farm workers in Canada, Orleans-Lindsay hoped to kick start a discussion and explore national and international perspectives on Universal Health Care – and his presentation did just that.
Orleans-Lindsay closed his presentation with a call to action for communities – noting that what is needed is a focus on interprofessional and cross-sector collaboration as a way to ensure accessibility, community vitality, and health equity.