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“My profession has been my passion, and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything. It has brought me a lot of excitement, adventure, opportunities to travel and experience in many fields.”By Sharmain GraingerAlthough moves are being made across sectors to give closer attention to those with varying forms of impairment, mainly of a physical nature, this area has long been gaining the attention of the Health Sector. And a rather committed female health worker has for more than four decades been in the forefront in this regard.Geraldine Maison-HallsThis individual currently holds the position of Coordinator of the Ministry of Health’s Rehabilitation Assistant programme, but has for many years dedicated her acquired skills to the exceedingly wide-ranging field.And who is this very dedicated person you may ask? She is Mrs. Geraldine Maison-Halls.The La Bonne Intention, East Coast Demerara resident has not only worked for many years with the Ministry of Health but has also worked tirelessly, even in a voluntary capacity, having gained much sought after expertise in disability rehabilitation and related pursuits. She has even worked globally with entities the likes of the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation to either deliver or educate persons to deliver services to patients with acute problems such as injuries, strokes and fractures.Skills that have been acquired by Maison-Halls over the years are even used to help prepare pregnant women for smooth delivery,NFL Jerseys From China, whereby they are taught special exercises. And persons in need of acute care for long term problems such as spinal cord injuries and diseases such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy have also been among those she has served over the years.Her role, however, has extended to that of instruction,Wholesale Jerseys From China, with a view of helping other selected health care workers better understand how they could prevent such disabling conditions and by extension, ensure that they are able to become productive citizens.But “satisfaction”, is perhaps an understatement, to describe how this week’s ‘Special Person’ feels about her contribution to the health sector over the years; she is certainly not ready to stop contributing.Born and raised at Abram Zuil on the Essequibo Coast, Geraldine was the younger of two children for her parents, Nathaniel and Stella Maison.Although they were not originally from the Essequibo Coast, they were required to work there as teachers, Geraldine said of her parents, as spoke proudly of her imposed Essequibian heritage.Mrs Maison-Halls (seated at centre) is flanked by a number of national coaches following a training course she coordinated.She attended a small school there before gaining a scholarship to attend The Bishops’ High School in Georgetown. This saw her following in the footsteps of her older sister. And according to her, she was able to secure quite a sound secondary education,Cheap Jerseys NFL China, which in fact provided the framework that she was eventually able to achieve academically as well as professionally.She recounted that during her school years, although she was not athletically inclined, she was a good supporter of athletic activities.“Even while I was at school, I was very interested in working in an area which was a ‘helping field’ in the health discipline. At the time I didn’t quite know which one,” she recounted.Her passion for supporting the athletics turned out to be a major influencing factor in her eventually directing focus to the area of physiotherapy, even while still at school. It was in light of this that young Geraldine strategically chose subject areas to ensure that she was well prepared for her passion. Her studies even saw her getting the opportunity to visit the Physiotherapy Department at the Georgetown Hospital.She recalled that one person who influenced her during that time was one Janice Simmons, who would eventually become the entity’s Principal Physiotherapist.“She was the one who really guided me and cemented that idea of becoming a Physiotherapist,” Maison-Halls related during an interview.Immediately after school, she was accepted at the very hospital as a Trainee Physiotherapist.  About one and a half years later, at the age of 18, fuelled with the passion nurtured by Simmons, she left for England to officially acquire the qualification that would enable her to fulfil her heart’s desire.An adventurous ride on an elephant while on a mission to Sri Lanka.She was a student at the West Middlesex Hospital School of Physiotherapy for just over a three-year period where the world of physiotherapy became even more endearing to her.  However, she reflected that “what I did know for certain was that I was coming back home to work in Guyana”.When she returned to Guyana in the 1970s as a Clinical Therapist, she was tasked with utilising her skills in various departments within the Georgetown Hospital mainly, but did have the opportunity to work at different facilities as well. She recounted how satisfied she felt when her work, on occasions, took her to the Children’s Rehabilitation Centre and even the Palms Geriatric Home to help improve the lives of persons in dire need of her service.  She was among those instrumental in helping to start physiotherapy services in Linden and New Amsterdam and eventually at health facilities region-wide.And, as if in the quest to revive her former passion for supporting those within the athletic arena, Geraldine was soon turning her attention to Sports Medicine.“I did a lot of work, I travelled the country working with sports teams, I had opportunities to organise courses for coaches,” she recounted with pride. Her efforts even influenced the establishment of a Clinic, complete with pool and sauna facilities, situated at Homestretch Avenue, Georgetown, back in the day.The Clinic, according to her, was intended to cater specifically to sports persons with varying injuries, and was in fact among the first clinics that had been established for sports people in the English-speaking Caribbean.“We were very, very proud of this accomplishment,” said Maison-Halls, who remained in the area of Sports Medicine for a few more years before venturing further into the field of Rehabilitation Services. This time it was the area of disability and rehabilitation.But instead of hands-on work, Geraldine was more attuned to the education aspect of things. She underwent a number of training programmes ahead of this new teaching role.It was during this period of her life that a notable incident would occur in her life. At the time she was aboard a plane en-route to Barbados to undergo a training programme when she cordially met Attorney-at-law, Leslie Halls, a fellow Essequibian.The two, by 1984, tied the knot, a union which eventually produced one child.“We were both from the Essequibo Coast, but we had never met each other before,Cheap Jerseys USA,” Maison-Halls reminisced.But family life was certainly not a hindrance to her profession.  She was quite outstanding at what she did, so much so, that while she was engaged in a programme in Barbados, she was identified to work with one of the Founders of the Community Based Rehabilitation programme which was promoted by the World Health Organisation.Standing amidst fellow Rehab Specialists after a meeting in Brazil.Moreover, she was tasked with working in Jamaica for a short stint where she helped to field test the strategies of Community Based Rehabilitation. And according to her, “I really became very committed, because what I recognised then was that although we were doing very well in terms of organising physiotherapy services, there were still a large number of persons who lived in rural communities and sometimes in the cities who were not receiving any rehabilitation”.As such, the Community Based Rehabilitation programme, she said, was seen as another way of providing low-cost rehabilitation for persons with disabilities.Upon her return to Guyana after the crucial exposure in Jamaica, Maison-Halls,Cheap NFL Jerseys Store, together with a colleague, made the ambitious move of starting a similar Community Based Rehabilitation programme.  Before long the Non-Governmental Guyana Community Based Rehabilitation programme was born.From 1986 to date, Geraldine Maison-Halls has been among those offering voluntary skills to the local Community Based operation that has been making a significant impact in the delivery of rehabilitation by providing basic services for those requiring such services.But this wasn’t the end of the road for her in terms of educating others about the importance of the varying aspects of the field; it was definitely becoming her passion.  And it was just such a programme that officials within the Ministry of Health approached her to coordinate a few years later. This saw her being tasked with coordinating training programmes for persons, to deliver rehabilitation services.Formerly, those with such training were regarded Physiotherapy Assistants, but according to Maison-Halls, they are now known as Rehabilitation Assistants.“These Rehab Assistants are not only trained in the physiotherapy field but also occupational therapy and speech therapy to meet the need out in the Regions,cheap jerseys, as well as people who require the services in Georgetown,” she asserted while in her 49 Croal Street, Stabroek, Georgetown office,Cheap Adidas NHL Jerseys, situated above the National Commission on Disability.She reminisced that in addition to the various contributions she has made over the years to the area of Rehabilitation Services, one of her most auspicious achievements was when she was invited by the World Health Organisation, in 1996, to take up a post as a professional in the Field of Rehabilitation Services in Geneva. During that time she recalled that she was able to travel to a number of countries to promote Community Based Rehabilitation.A proud Geraldine Maison-Halls (centre) sits with graduates of a Rehabilitation Assistant programme.“My profession has been my passion, and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything. It has brought me a lot of excitement, adventure, opportunities to travel and experience in many fields,” a nostalgic Geraldine relayed.And it is her undying commitment to this field that has duly seen her being recognised today as a ‘Special Person’.
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