OTTAWA, ON--(Marketwired - June 21, 2016) - The Heart and Stroke Foundation takes a strong stance on Indigenous health. On National Aboriginal Day, we reiterate our commitment to closing the gap in Indigenous health. Our national Indigenous health strategy is based on health reconciliation, with an aim to build capacity within Indigenous communities to improve heart and brain health.
Health systems are failing Indigenous people in Canada and as a result First Nation, Métis, and Inuit people are suffering from chronic diseases, poor health and nutrition, and death at alarming rates. The Foundation is committed to working with Indigenous communities and partners to help achieve our 2020 impact goals: to reduce risk factors by 10 per cent and to decrease the rate of death from heart disease and stroke by 25 per cent.
"We must close the gap in health and social well-being between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada," says David Sculthorpe, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Indigenous people are up to two times more likely to develop heart disease than the general population of Canada and the social and economic determinants impacting overall health are staggering. Access to the best treatment and recovery for heart and brain health is a major issue in many Indigenous communities and we want to change this -- we must change it."
The Foundation's strategy includes the core areas of CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) education and training for all First Nation and Inuit grade 8 classrooms in Canada. This includes recruiting about 1,200 new First Nation and Inuit community CPR instructors and granting Heart Saver Plus Cards to 14,000 successful grade 8 students in communities across Canada. This is one step toward building youth capacity and community outreach. The strategy also includes an Indigenous health alliance, equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water, and increased Indigenous capacity in research. The Foundation will seek the necessary resources to make this happen.
"We know that true partnerships and collaborations based on mutual respect will nurture the greatest success in closing the gap in Indigenous health," says Sculthorpe. "Our work will be centred on strong and sustainable partnerships with First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders, communities, and organizations."
As part of this work, the Foundation will soon release a position statement on Indigenous health, heart disease, and stroke which will be based on the social and economic inequities that impact health. It will include recommendations for Canadians, government and corporate Canada, employers, health-related educational or health care institutions, researchers and research funders, Indigenous communities and organizations, healthcare providers and healthcare systems.
Heart and Stroke will also be announcing a Council of Champions in the next few weeks, which will advise the Foundation on its Indigenous strategy.
"The Foundation's core values -- a passion for health, making a difference, learning every day, being extraordinary together, and embracing diversity -- will guide us as we proudly embrace the challenge of health reconciliation," says Sculthorpe.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation's mission is to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery. A volunteer-based health charity, we strive to tangibly improve the health of every Canadian family, every day. Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make it happen. heartandstroke.ca #CreateSurvivors
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