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Pilot project finds 63% of ill children in Pelican Narrows can be treated through remote technology PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Tuesday, 27 September 2016 12:35

Pediatrician Dr. Tanya Holt conducts an appointment with a young patient in Pelican Narrows while she is in an office in Saskatoon.  Photo by Joel Willick.

Health care providers in Saskatchewan are hoping robotics technology will bridge the health care gap for those living in remote locations.

On Tuesday, officials showcased a pilot project in Pelican Narrows where remote presence technology is being used to provide real time assessment and diagnosis for remote patients.

Basically, health-care providers are using robots to conduct scheduled appointments so families and patients don't have to travel hours to receive the care they need.

Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit visited the health care facility in Pelican Narrows, where he attended a demonstration of the technology through a live connection to Saskatoon.

"This is a great example of how innovative, cutting edge technology is benefiting people in one of our northern communities by improving access to medical specialists," Ottenbreit says.

Pelican Narrows was selected for the pilot project in 2014 for its remote location, large population of children and its burden of illness largely attributed to difficulty in accessing health services.

The pilot project was led by Dr. Ivan Mendez in partnership with Northern Medical Services and the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation.

"Remote presence technology has the potential to be trans-formative in improving access to primary specialized health care to under-serviced remote and rural communities in Saskatchewan," Mendez says.

He also says the project has demonstrated that 63 per cent of acutely ill children in Pelican Narrows could be treated effectively using this technology.

The application of the technology has many possible outcomes including pre-natal ultrasounds that can be conducted when a physician is thousands of kilometres away.

Rachel Johnson, a nurse practitioner in Pelican Narrows, has used the new technology to help a number of pediatric patients who would otherwise be considered for transport to other locations.

"Every day I witness the health disparities that our patients experience as a result of the distance to specialized service," she says.  "The application of this technology is almost limitless, and it truly has the potential to transform health service delivery, across the entire province."

According to Dr. Mendez $53 million dollars is spent every year transporting remote patients to the health care they need.

"We are going to continue to invest in this service," said Ottenbriet while speaking to the media through the robot in Pelican Narrows.

The government says it is committing $500,000 to expand the program into other communities.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2016 14:47
Ile a la Crosse students receive shirts in preparation for Orange Shirt Day PDF Print E-mail
Written by mbcnews   
Tuesday, 27 September 2016 12:27

A photo from last year's Orange Shirt Day.  File photo.

Over 500 orange shirts are being given out to students and leaders in Ile a la Crosse today.

Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield and other government officials are in the northern village giving out the shirts in preparation for Orange Shirt Day on Friday.

The Orange Shirt Day initiative calls for people nationwide to wear an orange shirt on September 30 in honour of survivors of residential schools.

"Residential schools were destructive for the students as well as their families, their communities, and our nation, as a whole," Schofield says.  "I encourage everyone to join me in wearing orange on September 30 to show support and to affirm every child matters."

The initiative was inspired by Phylis Webstad, a residential school survivor who had her brand new orange shirt replaced with the institutional uniform on the first day of residential school.

Webstad says that moment was just one of many of feeling worthless and insignificant.

Her story has been the catalyst for the national movement to honour residential school survivors in the spirit of healing and reconciliation.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2016 14:02
Universities to exchange ceremonial walking stick to begin another Building Reconciliation Forum PDF Print E-mail
Written by mbcnews   
Tuesday, 27 September 2016 12:25

Photo courtesy usask.ca

A ceremonial walking stick designed by a Saskatchewan First Nations chief will be given to the University of Alberta at the second annual Building Reconciliation Forum later this week.

The University of Saskatchewan was the host of the first ever Building Reconciliation forum last year, which looks at how universities can respond to the TRC's calls to action for reconciliation.

The walking stick was designed by Chief Wallace Fox of Onion Lake, a First Nation that spans both provinces.

A formal transfer ceremony will see the walking stick formally presented to U of A President David Turpin by U of S Chancellor Blaine Favel.

"The walking stick is a symbol of gathering and truth telling," says Favel.  "It is fitting that this gift is given as representatives from across the country gather in Edmonton to discuss this matter that affects us all:  reconciliation between Indigenous people and Canada."

The transfer ceremony will officially kick off the Building Reconciliation forum, which begins at the U of A campus on Wednesday.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2016 13:59
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