Thursday, January 10, 2013

Clínica da Família Cantagalo Pavão Pavãozinho - A fantastic health clinic in Rio de Janeiro

Gert Ferreira Wimmer
During my stay in Rio de Janeiro in November 2013, I was fortunate enough to visit a family health clinic called Clínica da Família Cantagalo Pavão Pavãozinho. The clinic gives health and social services to two neighboring poor living areas (favellas) called Cantagalo and Pavão Pavãozinho. I work myself as a Associate Professor at the Department for Health and Social Studies at Oestfold University College in Norway, and for me this was a great opportunity to learn more about health and social services in Brazil. My expectations were not disappointed. On the contrary! This was a highly qualified clinic under the professional leadership of Gert Ferreira Wimmer. He impressed me not only with his high academic level but most of all with his commitment to serve the people of Cantagalo and Pavão Pavãozinho. Rio de Janeiro show be proud of this commited leader and the Clínica da Família Cantagalo Pavão Pavãozinho.

One of the lectures I give to my students in Norway is about The Art of Helping where I quote the Danish Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard:
The clinic leader Gert Ferrira Wimmer at work

"If one is truly to succeed in leading a person to a specific place, one must first and foremost take care to find him where he is and begin there. 

This is the secret in the entire art of helping. Anyone who cannot do this is himself under a delusion if he thinks he is able to help someone else. In order truly to help someone else, I must understand more than he - but certainly first and foremost understand what he understands. If I do not do that, then my greatest understanding does not help him at all. If I nevertheless want to assert my greater understanding, then it is because I am vain or proud, then basically instead of benefiting him I really want to be admired by him. But all true helping begins with a humbling. The helper must first humble himself under the person he wants to help and thereby understand that to help is not to dominate but to serve, that to help is not to be the most dominating but the most patient, that to help is a willingness for the time being to put up with being in the wrong and not understand what the other understands." Soren Kierkegaard, [1855] 1962. Viewpoint of my Authorship. Copenhagen, Gyldendal, p.96-07.

Gert Wimmer and the family clinic lives up to this quoation perfectly. What he showed me during my stay at this fabious family clinic is how they really strive to find the other where the other is and start helping there. A typical Norwegian bureaucratic solution would be an office where people in need of help strive to find a helper. This clinic shows in practical work how it is possible to do what Kierkegaard says is the secret to the entire art of helping. The helper must find the one in need of help, not the other way around. His use of unbureacratic methods, by empowering people living in Cantagalo Pavão Pavãozinho which this clinic meets every day, and the use of untraditional methods really impressed me.

The clinic medical doctor José Luiz Roizenbruch and Kaare
 I told Gert that we in Norway, one of the riches countries in the world, have much to learn from this clinic and the way it is driven. We went so far in our meeting as to shake hands and committ ourselves to try to find a way in which we can cooperate in education of our health and social work students in Norway and having researchers from our University College cooperate with the highly qualified staff at the clinic in research projects. Two projects we discussed was sexual abuse and domestic violence. These are two topics we have advanced classes in at our University College and it would be wounderful to be able to cooperate in the production of new knowledge together with Gert and his staff. So we have started a cooperation and time will show if we are able to find a way to work and walk together. 

Gert, Kaare, Trond, Anne-Martha, Fabio, Jean and Åsne outside the clinic

Cantagalo Pavão Pavãozinho

1 comment:

  1. We've been there too, very modern and helpfull peaople.