Providing credible and accurate information on the COVID-19 pandemic on a weekly basis has been the goal of a national First Nations organization out of Ottawa.
Since shortly after the pandemic began, The First Nations Health Managers Association has been hosting virtual town hall meetings on a number of networks, including MBC Radio, every Thursday.
FNHMA CEO Marion Crowe, who is originally from the Piapot First Nation, said the organization wants to provide information on COVID-19 to as many Indigenous people as possible and in a format that is easy to understand.
“We wanted to be able to provide a message about COVID-19, get resources and information to our health directors,” she said. “We have a number of provincial folks who are dialling and listening in as well. Mainstream Canada finds it useful in terms of the language used that’s not medical or technical.”
Crowe added because Indigenous communities across the country are so diverse and have varied questions on how the pandemic should be best navigated, it has been important to have the right officials on hand.
“From the town halls that we’ve hosted, we’ve seen a lot of questions and luckily we’ve had Indigenous Services Canada and First Nations and Inuit Health Branch representatives available to take these questions around PPEs (personal protective equipment) asking about funding and what it would look like for those communities who were in set agreements.”
She said questions from remote and northern communities have focused on access to health care services should an outbreak happen.
The FNHMA CEO said roughly 8,000-10,000 people were being reached each week.
June 25 was the last day for the virtual town halls.
(PHOTO: First Nations Health Managers Association CEO Marion Crowe. Photo courtesy Marion Crowe.)