Monday, 7 November 2011

The video Ottawa Public Health didn't want you to see

Warning: This video contains information that could save your life. But Ottawa Public Health doesn't want you to see it!

So here's the story.

Two years ago, Scott and I were so concerned about the outbreak of H1N1 that we decided to make this video to encourage kids to wash their hands and prevent the spread of the virus. We consulted all the experts, including the association that represents infection control professionals as well as the experts at CHEO.

The local folks turned out to be totally uncooperative, and told us they wouldn't help with the video even though, initially, they were enthusiastic. We went ahead and did the video anyway, enlisting the help of a local kids dance troupe and a professional children's entertainer.

When the video was completed, it was shown to Ottawa Public Health's chief medical officer who basically told us to get lost. The video would never see shown on their watch because it hadn't been vetted by their committees who needed to have input into the whole process.

The medical officer of health also said they wouldn't support any venture which could potentially profit from the making of the video. We were going to sell our video for $1 each.

Instead, public health decided to hire an advertising agency to make an instructional video on handwashing and run video spots on the local news.

This is the same group who recently decided not to tell Ottawa residents which clinic had been found using unsafe infection control practices, creating panic in the city.

When it comes to public health in this city, do-gooders need not apply.

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