If company president Jeff Stevens had his way, this would be a required course. He asks the important question: Would the average person be prepared in the event of a flu or other serious disease pandemic? The Stevens Company Ltd. has taken steps to ensure they at least have a fighting chance for the future armed with knowledge – and perhaps a kit for infection control and prevention.
Kits remove the guesswork about what people need to protect themselves, he says.
Stevens’ presentation Pandemic 101 at the inaugural “A Healthier You Expo and Forum” Nov. 16 and 17, sheds light on a serious subject most people either don’t understand or would rather not think about.
“I just returned from a bird flu summit in Los Vegas so that dovetails nicely with my speaking at the health conference. We have found that people are definitely paying attention and responding to the important issues. I work in both countries and Canada is definitely two or three years ahead of Americans in terms of thinking about their own health.”
The response falls in two main camps, he said.
“We have found that Canadians responding to [the idea of] pandemics are either in complete denial and think it won’t be a concern for them, or they’re confused by all the information out there in the media and on the Internet and they don’t know what to think,” he said.
With government cut backs and more public education, there’s been a shift towards people being encouraged to look after their own health care, Stevens said.
“About 10 years ago, we began to see a change in the way people were expected to address their own health care. There’s a much stronger impetus now for people to take care of their own health care needs.”
Stevens said his company is concerned with two main things: protection of the family and trying to make health information simple, so people can understand the issues.
“We’re excited to be a primary sponsor for this [A Healthier You} event the conference will get people talking and thinking about some of these concerns, let them know what the risks are and how they can best protect themselves. We try to keep it simple. It’s a lot about common sense like good hand hygiene and social distancing – that’s a huge thing in preventing infection.”
Five years ago, the Stevens Company began designing its disease prevention kits.
“During the SARS episode here in Toronto in 2003, we noticed that people were going out and buying [protective] masks at $10 to $15 apiece and they still had no idea how to wear them or for how long. So we came up with the idea of making our kits and providing education because people need more tools to protect their health.”
Health care education has paid off, he says.
“Especially in the last five years or so, people have become more aware of the need to look after their own health care. There’s been a shift in attitude to prevent disease rather than treat it. Things like the pandemic flu could be, and will be, a concern for the future. So educating people on how they can prepare for such an event and knowing the best ways to protect themselves is very important.”
A Healthier You Expo and Forum takes place Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Prince George Civic Centre.
The event is an opportunity for people to meet health care professionals and learn what steps they can take today for better health tomorrow. The expo and forum is free to the public.
Luncheon speakers event costs $25 per speaker.
There will be presentations on preventative health care, booths to explore and an opportunity to meet with industry representatives.
The event is hosted by Minister of Education and former minister of health Shirley Bond.