SAA

History of Students Against Apathy

Students Against Apathy was a club founded by Grade 10 Students at Delphi who wanted to do something to impact the world around us. They wanted to make a change and contribute to the society around us. It was started by motivated students who wanted to continue to help the global community.

The first initiative SAA undertook was building a medical facility and high school in Sri Lanka, for which they were awarded by the Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, for their “outstanding spirit” and for their contributions in Sri Lanka. From here SAA worked with Sierra Leone and built a school. This effort was recognized by the TDSB and widely praised.

Today

After being successful here too, students who were a part of SAA felt as if they had helped the world, which was their vision however they now wanted to help their own community before they went international again. At this point SAA began working with the First Nations. Their first task was to purchase a reverse osmosis fresh water plant, which had a net value of $10 000, for a native reserve up in Northern Ontario, Pikangikum. SAA was assisted by University of Toronto students to raise sufficient funds for this fresh water plant. Now, Students Against Apathy is an organization built on students networking with other students, in order to bring awareness to the challenges facing First Nations in Canada. We strive to raise funds to provide education, food, and medical equipment for the remote northern reserves. In addition to shipping clothing, food, and school supplies we are now attempting to raise funds for mobile ocular screening equipment with a net value of approximately $100, 000for the screening of the retina in search of underlying diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and/or glaucoma.Diabetes is at an epidemic rate throughout all First Nations, leading to an inordinate rate of blindness, which can be curtailed by this medical technology.

Our mission concerns youth and responds to their identified needs of children, youth, families and communities in the remote First Nations. We work to build caring and supportive relationships between voluntary organizations and individuals in the south and the northern First Nations people. We secure resources from voluntary sector organizations,individuals, and other funding bodies in order to meet basic needs and provide programs, training, housing, and medical support. More information about the partnership can be found on the website of the partnership, where you can also find the community assessment for KI and Pikangikum, as well as more information about who we work with and what we work towards.

Macular Degeneration

In the remote reserves type 2 diabetes is at an epidemic rate. Not only diabetes, but suicide rates, inflation and the cost of living itself is skyrocketing. With high unemployment rates, it becomes nearly impossible for the reserves to support themselves educationally, let alone medically. In fact, recently the conditions in the reserves have been assessed by Nick Finney, Acting Head of Emergency Capacity for Save the Children in Great Britain, “the slowest evolved disaster that I've ever worked in.” He went on saying, “In a natural disaster, hope is a vital thing. People lose family and possessions, but society is united with those who can help. What I felt in northern Canada was like Darfur. The reasons are different, but there is a hopelessness, a despair, a sense of despondency.” However, Finney made a point to stress that he also saw “powerful leadership” in the communities he visited,but said while “they are fighting hard, but they need some help.”

At a recent invitation of Chiefs and Band Council of various First Nations communities, Ocular Health Centres (OHC) was asked to help provide their communities with proper ocular disease screening and management from a distance and help reduce costs. However, the remote reserves in Northern Ontario do not have any money, to support the purchase of any equipment.

Ocular Health Centres is a medical imagining company which specializes in screening the retina for underlying diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and/or glaucoma.

OHN will provide a full retinal examination including OCT, digital fundus photography, IOP’s and visual acuity test. These digital images and personal patient data will be entered into OHN- electronic medical record and sent through a ‘secured diagnostic interface’ needed for the transfer of medical records. This information can be accessed by a Specialist anywhere and at anytime. The specialist will then provide interpretations,diagnosis and management options to the patient and referring eye care professional (General Practitioners, Optometrists or Ophthalmologists).

Features & Advantages:

The advantages of having this equipment available include the following:
  • Local and timely access to comprehensive imaging and measurements of the retina needed for the specialist to provide diagnosis and management options to the patient via telemedicine.
  • Provide a full communication loop between the patient, the referring health care provider and the specialist by providing access to an Electronic Medical Record anywhere/anytime.
  • Proven to decrease false/positives (will limit cost associated with family members or loved ones accompaniment with the patient for treatment.
  • Less time, reduces costs, pre-screened by a specialist, referred to a specialist by a specialist.
  • Earlier diagnosis and treatment saves vision!