Interview with Jacqueline Cahill By Hanan Awaad
According to the National Association for Incontinence, over 200 million people worldwide suffer Urinary Incontinence two-thirds of them are women due to factors such as pregnancy, childbirth, or menopause.
To understand the conditions related to urinary incontinence and the efforts exerted to help and support sufferers, Corporita Magazine had contacted Jacqueline Cahill, the Executive Director of The Canadian Continence Foundation (TCCF).
Q. Jacqueline, you joined The Canadian Continence Foundation (TCCF) in 2005, what was your biggest achievement during that time?
Since I joined the organization, I worked in collaboration with the Board and other professionals in the field to get the TCCF recognized as “The Patient Voice.” You know, those living with incontinence in many cases feel ashamed of this taboo condition. However, with the recognition of the condition encouraging patients to seek help, this chronic condition can be treated and often cured.
Q. You referred to urinary incontinence as a taboo condition, would you please elaborate why the condition has such reputation and why sufferers remain silent and do not seek help?
Over 3.3 million Canadians are experiencing urinary incontinence. The condition is embracing, and in most cases, patients are hesitant to share their personal stories or consult professionals for a long time before they overcome their anxiety and embarrassment. Some patients do not know that their condition is curable.
Q. Is Incontinence related to old age?
This is a misconception as such condition can affect children born with some complications at birth such as imperforate anus. Many women start experiencing symptoms after giving birth and in other cases, chronic constipation can lead to incontinence.
Q. Do you only focus on educating patients?
Of course, educating people experiencing urinary and bowel incontinence and the general public is necessary. Education and raising awareness is the door for those who suffer to seek confidently and access cures, remedies and treatment options.
However, we also work on implementing and encouraging critical education, awareness-building, support, advocacy and research to develop a better understanding of the causes of incontinence, treatment and/or management.
Q. What about the role of the government and the health care system?
Many of Access to Treatment and Reimbursement advocacy initiatives organized by the TCCF allowed harnessing government’s attention. We also developed the “How To” Health Guide to assist patients, caregivers and families get the needed information about the Canadian health care system, which can often be challenging to navigate. The Guide provides basic information about how to speak to those working within the system on a range of issues such as finding information on available services, asking for a second opinion, and paying for medicine.
We have recognized that there is inequitable access to knowledgeable and skilled health professionals for the person living with incontinence issues in Canada. That is why I have also worked on fostering alliances and partnerships nationally and internationally with stakeholders interested in improving incontinence care, management, and treatment and forming a National Incontinence Coalition of Canadian Patient Organizations representing patients.
Q. What about the role of the TCCF on the international level?
We are very active on both the national and the international arena. Recently, we have worked with The World Health Organization to finalize a list of 50 products to be included on the Priority Assistive Products List (APL). The APL is being developed to improve access to high-quality, affordable assistive products for everyone, everywhere.
Originally posted 2016-07-14 01:22:45.