06/27/2012 08:18 EDT | Updated 08/27/2012 05:12 EDT

Why I Love Canada: We Are Leaders in Health


Canada may be better known in the world for hockey and maple syrup but one of the greatest contributions Canada has made to the world is improvement of local and global health.

Most Canadians at one time or another have heard of the name Tommy Douglas. He has been called "The Greatest Canadian" for his pioneering work to improve the quality of all Canadians through the implementation of universal health care, now known as the Canada Health Act. Yet while his achievements have led to the development of medicare worldwide, his contributions came many years after the work of a number of Canadians who changed the face of global health.

  • In 1921, Sir Frederick Banting, was amazed by the pancreas and through some incredible work with his colleague, Dr. Charles Best, discovered how to isolate insulin. Their efforts won Banting the Nobel Prize but also led the way for a treatment for diabetes which is still used today.
  • In 1930, Drs Frederick Tisdall, Theodore Drake and Alan Brown developed the first treatment for malnutrition. The formulation, known as Pablum was the first cereal that had all the necessary nutrients to maintain a healthy child.
  • In 1945, Dr. Brock Chisholm, the once Deputy Minister of Health was sent to a meeting of the newly formed United Nations in San Francisco. There, Chisholm worked to establish a new international health organization to allow all global citizens the opportunity to "attain the highest possible level of health," combat infectious diseases such as smallpox, typhus, and cholera. This effort would result in the formation of the World Health Organization and Chisholm sat as its first Director General.
  • The next year, while solidifying the WHO, Chisholm worked with another Canadian, Mrs. Adelaide Sinclair, to develop another health organization known as the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, which we all know well as UNICEF. The organization was developed to help fight infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy. Sinclair worked tirelessly to ensure that UNICEF was not only funded in its early years, but also was recognized worldwide as a leader in the promotion of children's health.

There have been hundreds of other achievements in global health, far too many to mention here but the ones listed above epitomize Canada's role in improving the health of not only Canadians, but also of the world's population. As Canada moves on past it's 145th birthday, the achievements are only to increase and the world is destined to become healthier.

It's truly why I love Canada and being Canadian!

Happy Canada Day!

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