Health Canada

Health Canada

August 12, 2008 10:16 ET

Canada's Government Announces Aboriginal Health Care Reform in Nova Scotia

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 12, 2008) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, on behalf of the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, announced today reforms that will help improve the delivery of Aboriginal health care in Nova Scotia.

The Aboriginal Health Transfer Fund announced today is designed to improve the integration of Federal and Provincial health services, improve access to health services and increase the participation of Aboriginal peoples in the design, delivery and evaluation of health programs and services to make them better suited to Nova Scotia's Aboriginal community. Canada's Government is investing over $3 million towards this Fund.

"Our government is pleased to announce these important changes in health care services that will better serve the unique needs of Aboriginal people in Nova Scotia," said Minister Strahl. "These reforms will help more Aboriginal people plan, deliver and evaluate health programs and services with the goal of improving the health and well-being our First Nations' people in Nova Scotia."

"Today's announcement demonstrates the positive and growing working relationship we have been developing in Nova Scotia," said Minister Angus MacIsaac, Nova Scotia's Deputy Premier and Acting Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. "It will help bring all of us closer to the goal of improving the health of Aboriginal Nova Scotians."

"Our Chiefs view this investment as a real opportunity to help improve health services for Aboriginal people in Nova Scotia," said Chief Lawrence Paul, Co-Chair of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs. "Our Chiefs are very confident that by working together, these projects will address some of the priorities and issues facing First Nations people and help meet our objective of improving the overall health of our people and our communities."

The Aboriginal Health Transition Fund was established to devise new ways of integrating and adapting health services to better meet the needs of Aboriginal people. Canada's Government is investing $200 million over 5 years in all provinces.

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The Aboriginal Health Transition Fund provides transitional funding to Provincial and Territorial governments and First Nations, Inuit and Metis organizations and communities in three areas:

Integration - to support First Nations and Inuit communities in improving the coordination and integration between provincial/territorial health systems and health systems within First Nations and Inuit communities.

Adaptation - to support provincial and territorial governments in adapting their existing health programs to the unique needs of all Aboriginal peoples.

Pan-Canadian - to support cross-jurisdictional First Nations, Inuit and Metis priorities or shared priorities in adaptation and implementation initiatives.

The following projects will be initiated as a result of the AHTF:

Integration Projects

1) Nova Scotia Federal First Nations Home Care Service and Policy Integration Initiative - $180,000. This project will better integrate home and continuing care services for First Nations in Nova Scotia. Partners include the Nova Scotia Department of Health's Continuing Care Branch, the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq and Health Canada.

2) Enhancement of Health Authority and First Nations Communication, Service Coordination and Access - $127,500. A Memorandum of Understanding will be developed between two First Nations communities and the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority (GASHA) to clarify roles and responsibilities for health service delivery, establish specific targets and improve coordination of health services. Partners include GASHA, the Paq'tnket First Nation, the Potlotek First Nation and Health Canada.

3) Collaboration for Improved Integration of Mental Health Services in Pictou Landing First Nation - $187,500. This project will help increase the capacity of First Nation community health staff to respond to mental health issues, design and implement on reserve support groups and develop a strategy for better collaboration between the Pictou Landing First Nation and the Pictou County Health Authority.

4) Project to Improve Mental Health Services and Address the Complex Discharge Planning Needs of First Nations Residents - $143,600. The Annapolis Valley District Health Authority (DHA) will work with three First Nation communities and the South West Nova DHA to improve mental health services and discharge planning for complex cases. Other partners include the Acadia First Nation, the Bear River First Nation and the Annapolis Valley First Nation.

5) Collaborative Care for the Children and Youth We Share - $215,075. This project will work with partners to develop collaborative mechanisms, policies and procedures to improve the delivery of mental health services for children and youth in Aboriginal communities. Partners include the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq, the Annapolis Valley DHA, the Capital Health IWK Health Centre, Colchester East Hants DHA, Eastern Shore Musquodobit Community Health, GASHA, Pictou County Health Authority, and the South West Nova DHA.

6) Telling Our Stories: Quantifying, Documenting and Articulating First Nations' Health Needs - $376,193. This project will address the gaps in the collection and access of Aboriginal health information through the development of health indicators and the sharing of health information. Partners include five Cape Breton First Nations communities, GASHA, the Cape Breton DHA, Cancer Care Nova Scotia, Cardiovascular Health Nova Scotia, the Reproductive Care Program of Nova Scotia, the Population Health Research Unit, the Nova Scotia Department of Health and the We'koqma'q Health Centre.

7) Working Toward Health Status Reporting with First Nations in Nova Scotia (A Project to Prepare First Nation Communities for Panorama Implementation) - $245,000. This project will improve the integration and coordination of provincial, community and federal health services for First Nations by working to implement the pan-Canadian Public Health Surveillance Management System (Panorama). Partners include the Wagmatcook First Nation, the Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion and Protection, the Cape Breton DHA, Health Canada, the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq, and Cape Breton First Nations.

Adaptation Projects

1) Mental Health and Addictions Prevention and Promotion Initiative; Colchester - East Hants Health Authority - $208,000. This project will fund First Nations in Millbrook and Indian Brook to work with Colchester East Hants Health Authority to develop a partnership to address the significant health needs related to mental health promotion and addictions prevention. It will adapt tools and processes related to the delivery of mental health and addictions services in order to address the cultural context in which prevention and promotion supports are provided. The Government of Nova Scotia, Department of Health is the recipient of this project.

2) The Path Less Travelled: Using Navigation Approaches to Improve the Capacity of Aboriginal Patients to Access the Health System; Cape Breton Nova Scotia First Nations (Tui'kn communities) - $275,000. This project will adapt education materials and referral processes for Aboriginal people diagnosed with cancer, adapting the Cancer Care Nova Scotia approach. It will improve the experience of Aboriginal patients in the health care system by adapting navigation and co-ordination tools and strengthening local capacity to support patients and their families who are facing chronic diseases and accessing treatment from many different agencies. The Government of Nova Scotia, Department of Health is the recipient of this project.

3) Aboriginal Health Awareness Project; Native Council of Nova Scotia - $223,500. This project will assess the health needs of off-reserve Aboriginal peoples and share information in order to assist with planning and delivery of services to improve accessibility to off-reserve Aboriginal peoples in Nova Scotia, and will create a database and resource guide of province-wide health programs and services to enable off-reserve Aboriginal people to be aware of these services and enable better access. The Government of Nova Scotia, Department of Health is the recipient of this project.

In addition to the adaptation projects listed above, Nova Scotia receives funds to implement its adaptation plan - $275,000.

Pan-Canadian Projects

1) Improving Pathways to Mental Health in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick - $598,881. This project is designed to improve access to mental health services in communities affiliated with the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs; improve the mental health knowledge of community workers; and increase the efficiency of the mental health system through the introduction of "health navigators." Mental health service assessments will be conducted in each community to gauge the capacity of the formal mental health system and uncover informal pathways to mental health service. Partners include Colchester East Hants, Pictou County, and River Valley Health Authorities; Millbrook, Indian Brook, Tobique, Woodstock, Kingsclear, St. Mary's, Oromocto, and Pictou Landing First Nations.

2) Midwifery in Aboriginal Community Settings - $199,900. This project will help the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs in conducting a research project on traditional midwifery and develop and recommend an implementation strategy for providing midwifery services in Aboriginal communities, in keeping with provincial programs. Partners include five First Nations: Chapel Island, Eskasoni, Membertou, Wagmatcook, Waycobah; the Nova Scotia Department of Health, Primary Health Care Section; the Cape Breton Regional Hospital; the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital; and the Association of Nova Scotia Midwives.

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