FOGO ISLAND: A LESSON IN ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION & SUSTAINABLE HEALTHCARE. Raymond Rupert MD. MBA.

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Fogo Island is an island of 2,800 individuals located just off the north east coast of Newfoundland.  The ferry takes you from the mainland to Stag Harbour.

For 400 years the economy of Fogo Island was centred on cod fishing. But overfishing resulted in the end of this industry. The economy was not robust or diversified enough to continue. The island was in decline.

Then along came Zita Cobb.

Zita’s story is one of remarkable success in fiberoptics in Ottawa after studying business at university. She was raised on Fogo Island with no electricity or running water by parents who could not read.

She has returned to Fogo Island to lead an economic transformation.

Zita’s work is focused on creating a sustainable economy for the people of Fogo Island.

Zita is making enormous strides towards that goal.

The Fogo Island Inn is an architectural wonder. The experience at the Inn is world class. The staff are exceptionally warm and welcoming.

The Inn is owned by the Shorefast Foundation. Zita started the Foundation and provided the seed capital.

There is no tipping at the Fogo Island Inn because the employees receive 15% of gross revenues of the Inn, as well as their wages. Any profits from the Inn are reinvested by the Foundation in the social enterprises on Fogo.

The Foundation is providing micro-loans and co-investing in local businesses. Nicole’s cafe is one example. The Foundation co-invested with the founders of the cafe. Nicole’s is a success and has purchased Growler’s ice cream, just down the road.  Both are generating revenues and creating jobs.

We were taken on a tour by Blanche Bennett, who is a community guide. She is a highly intelligent women who is a solid member of the community. She took us to Tilting to visit Phil’s shed, where Phil has shed parties that are open to the community and to visitors. The hospitality is exceptional.

Healthcare on Fogo Island should be available. There are two family doctors on the island. However, some residents of Fogo on learning that they have a serious healthcare problem will retire to their beds. They won’t make the effort to get a diagnosis or treatment. They just collapse in the face of illness. There is something missing here because of the perception that healthcare is not available.

We are proposing to explore introducing sustainable healthcare to Fogo Island. This will be an extended healthcare plan.

The team at Rupert Case Management will be doing the research, developing the service delivery model, creating the funding model, the governance structure and presenting this plan to Zita Cobb and her team at the Shorefast Foundation.

Stay tuned to learn more about how Rupert Case Management tackles the issue of sustainability of healthcare on Fogo Island.