Academic Internships in Africa
In December of 2014, the Canadian Association of the Order of Malta and the University of Montreal (Faculty of Nursing) created the Blessed Gerard’s Fellowships. The program consists of an internship in a hospital managed by the Order of Malta, in Africa. It was established under the initiative of our colleague Christian Samoisette, and is managed by the Montreal region.
For the first year of the program, two meritorious students of the University of Montreal’s Faculty of Nursing, Valérie Bissonnette and Julie Lapointe-Grenier, were given grants of 1,500 dollars each to stay at the Hospital of the Order of Malta in the city of Dakar, in Senegal. This hospital was founded in 1967 by the Order of Malta-France as the Applied Leprosy Institute of Dakar. It is now part of the National University Hospital of Fann.
The students spent two months there, from February 23 to April 23 2016, and had the opportunity not only to learn about leprosy, but also to exchange knowledge in medical practices with nurses and physicians of the place. They also visited the Siné Saloum health centre (on Mar Lodge Island) and the village of Touba Peycouck, where those suffering from leprosy can get medical and social rehabilitation after the treatments. Each year, a fundraising diner is held in Montreal to support the program, and the grants have been raised to 2,500 dollars for the second year. In the Spring of 2017, student Julie Maurice was flown for a two-month internship at the StJean-Baptiste Hospital, in the city of Tiassalé on the Ivory Coast. She was the only student who met the strict academic criteria for the Fellowship of the Canadian Association of the Order of Malta.