Access to proper health services continues to be an issue in Northern and remote communities. Issues relating to adequate health infrastructure and ability to access trained health practitioners continue to impact the health of individuals in MKO nations. In spite of these obstacles MKO staff continue to work diligently to work towards assisting with improving health services in our north.
On a day to day basis, the Health Adviser manages files, writes correspondence, attends meetings, prepares briefings for MKO leadership, and drafts proposals for funding. As well, the health staff attend MKO Executive Meetings and MKO Chiefs Assemblies to present and respond to health issues. MKO leadership and staff are committed to working towards facilitating the MKO mandate in pursuing matters of social justice in the area of health as well as promoting and advancing Treaty rights. This includes pursuing innovative ideas that will lead towards greater sovereignty related to our health.
Some of the new announcements or developments that have occurred recently were a proposal entitled “Sustainable Health Framework”, announcement of winning of a contract for Muskehki Pharmacy, and a Regional Health Forum in Thompson in February, 2015.Regular advocacy also took place with First Nations citizens with the most contentious cases being handled by the Office of the Grand Chief. Sensitive cases involved families impacted significantly by policy decisions, action or inaction of the health system resulting in either harm or death.
MKO continues to work hard to realize improved health services in our north. Some of the key files currently are:
- Intergovernmental Committee on First Nation Health – MKO regularly attended the meetings of the ICMFNH and Senior Officials Steering Committee. The fiscal year focused on leadership, finalization of a follow up paper on fiscal analysis as well as focused health issues.
- Governance – MKO has consistently sought to gain control over the health services in our northern communities as support through MKO resolutions. Progress is slow but the efforts continue.
- Patient Navigators – MKO received funding to create two positions of Non-Insured Health Benefits Navigators. The positions are based in Winnipeg and the objective is to have people visible and available to assist patients navigate thru the medical system when on medical travel.
- Political Unity Accord on Health – MKO continues to work on achieving consistency and support with other PTO’s such as AMC and SCO, but has also had strategic meetings with MMF and other National PTO’s on issues of commonality.
- Regional Health Authorities – MKO has resumed collaborative work with the Northern Regional Health Authority and a key discussion took place in Thompson at the Northern Regional Health Forum in February, 2015.
- Southern Chiefs Organization collaboration – MKO is a partner with the SCO on their HSIF initiative to test a Framework for Adaptation developed out of the SCO/WRHA Adaptation program that took place from 2008 – 2013. The key focus was next steps and development of a toolkit as well as evaluation and report on successes and applications.
- Women – MKO Health assists in preparing strategies and attending meetings relative to women’s health and women’s issues.
- Manitoba First Nation Technology Council – MKO has tried to maintain representation on the MFNTC however due to the complex and specific skill set required in the field of technology, consistent representation was a challenge. In the 2014/15 year, more focus was spent on this file due to the scope and implications of the development of technology infrastructure which is anticipated to happen in the near future.