FSIN Signs Major Health Deal With Ottawa, Province

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 15:03



Federal Health Minister Tony Clement says a deal signed today in Fort Qu’Appelle will make real improvements to the health status of Saskatchewan First Nations people.


Clement, Saskatchewan Health Minister Don McMorris and officials with the FSIN signed a memorandum of understanding on First Nations health and well-being.


The deal will establish a formal partnership to improve the coordination of health programming, reduce administrative duplication, better adapt programs to the needs of First Nations, and address the gaps in health services for First Nations people.


The agreement includes a commitment to improve the recruitment and retention of First Nations health care providers.


Both levels of government say the deal also recognizes the importance of engaging the expertise of First Nations communities, traditional practitioners and health care professionals in First Nations communities.


FSIN Vice-Chief Guy Lonechild is excited about the potential of that aspect of the agreement.


Lonechild says the government will provide a significant investment in traditional health through innovations and pilot projects.


He also says First Nations citizens who wants to include traditional healing as part of the health care they receive will have financial support to do so.


The MOU commits the three parties to establish a planning process to develop a 10-year First Nations’ health and wellness plan.


An inter-governmental steering committee has been established to oversee the implementation of the MOU.


It will identify priority areas for collaboration and develop performance indicators to measure progress.