Health Canada

Health Canada

October 15, 2009 16:31 ET

Government of Canada and Cowessess First Nation Highlight Cooperation on Pandemic Planning and Preparedness

COWESSESS FIRST NATION, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Oct. 15, 2009) - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Federal Minister of Health, and Gordon Lerat, Chief of the Cowessess First Nation met today to highlight on-going cooperation on pandemic planning and preparedness activities in First Nation communities.

"First Nation communities across Canada, including Cowessess, have taken charge of their own pandemic planning, and we are pleased to have supported them in these efforts," said Minister Aglukkaq. "Thanks to this hard work, First Nation communities are better prepared to fight the H1N1 flu virus."

Sound pandemic planning is the cornerstone of being prepared to respond to the H1N1 flu virus. The recent signing of a Communications Protocol between the Assembly of First Nations and Government of Canada is a further example of how all parties are working together on planning, preparedness and improved communications to best protect First Nation communities from the virus.

"Since 2005, the Cowessess First Nation pandemic committee has been working diligently to prepare the community for a possible pandemic," said Chief Lerat. "We the Chief and Council have supported this work by assuring community members that all that can be done is being done for the safety of our First Nation as a whole."

An upcoming virtual summit, to be co-hosted by Minister Aglukkaq and National Chief Shawn Atleo of the Assembly of First Nations, will provide a further update on efforts in planning and preparing for a pandemic among First Nation communities. At present, ninety-six percent of all First Nation communities have pandemic plans.

Since 2006, First Nation communities in Saskatchewan have worked in close cooperation with Health Canada and the Northern Intertribal Health Authority on pandemic planning and preparedness ensuring the availability of necessary medical supplies and equipment while also holding planning and education workshops.

Cowessess First Nation is located approximately 150 km east of Regina, Saskatchewan with approximately 3,350 members. Over 600 members live on-reserve.

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Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Health Canada
    Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
    Federal Minister of Health
    Josee Bellemare
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