Providing critical aid during the pandemic: Meet Public Health Deputy Lead Rateb Fouad

As a young child in Canada, Rateb always acknowledged that his internal calling was to help those in need. Following his parents’ immigration to the Middle East, Rateb remained focused on his resolve and pursued his medical education in the Kingdom of Bahrain where he obtained his medical degree.

Rateb standing with arms behind his back with Canadian Red Cross red vest onStudying in the medical field, Rateb saw the opportunity to directly apply his training and skills through the greater good of humanitarian work. He had always dreamed of working at an organization with strong ties to helping vulnerable people and communities, and today he continues to fulfill that dream at the Canadian Red Cross.
 
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rateb recognized the importance of the organization’s work to support communities in need and began to explore how he could be part of it. It was not long until he began working at the Canadian Red Cross as a Public Health Advisor for the Epidemic Prevention and Control team in Ontario. Rateb would soon assume the title of Public Health Deputy Lead for the long-term care (LTC) operation, utilizing his knowledge and experience gained along with his leadership skills to provide support to over 20 LTC homes under outbreak across Ontario.
 
Rateb has been encouraged by the resilience of the LTC staff who have worked through the many challenges that the pandemic has caused.

“Long-term care homes are amongst those that have been most significantly impacted by COVID-19. It is quite common to see staff that have been working in these homes for many years caring for residents they have known for equally as long. What you find is that is that you are in the midst of an extensive family where the staff are willing to go above and beyond to help protect their seniors,” he says.
 
He recalls with fondness the special connection that he developed with residents and staff at a long-term care facility in Akwesasne, Ontario. Rateb will always remember the impact when staff members at the facility became overcome with tears of joy because of the support that he and the Canadian Red Cross team were able to offer during the pandemic.
 

“With the Red Cross, you are much bigger than your individual self. You are part of a system where you are supported with high achieving and passionate individuals, with the source of their motivation being to apply their humanitarian efforts.”

 
Every day, Rateb worked alongside 25 resilient team members who share the same excitement and passion for the Canadian Red Cross and welfare of others. Prioritizing the team’s safety while responding to referrals, Rateb would lead his colleagues into LTC homes with active COVID-19 outbreaks, helping to implement public health protocol and infection prevention and control practices. The collaboration and support are motivating and inspires him to do more in his field of work.

“Every long-term care project is one for which I am proud. Each site is so unique, with a different group of dedicated staff and public health representatives ready to give it their all to fight an invisible enemy, COVID-19. In the end, we are collectively saving lives,” he says.
 
Rateb’s experience with the Canadian Red Cross has been exceptionally fulfilling because his colleagues are filled with motivation to support humanitarian efforts. “When you work with the Red Cross, you are surrounded by family. It may sound cliché but the network and support you develop with your peers and various response teams is like no other,” he says.
 
Helpers of all kinds make a difference every day with the Canadian Red Cross. Explore employment and volunteer opportunities at redcross.ca/someone.
 
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