Minister Aglukkaq announces investment of over $18 million to strengthen health services in the Northwest Territories

Funding will streamline access to health services and improve oral health for children and youth

YELLOWKNIFE, July 30, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, along with territorial Minister of Health and Social Services Glen Abernethy, announced a three-year total investment of over $18 million to improve services in mental health, chronic disease and children's oral health services in the Northwest Territories. This funding was provided through the Territorial Health Investment Fund (THIF).

The Northwest Territories will receive $8.5 million through the fund to manage healthcare system reform. A dedicated team will be created to assist the Department of Health and Social services as they move from eight distinct health and social services authorities to one, all-encompassing authority. A streamlined, more efficient health care system will ultimately improve chronic disease and mental health outcomes.

A new oral health action plan will be developed for children and youth with $4.5 million in funding provided under the THIF. The action plan will focus on prevention, timely access to care, and early detection. In the next 10 years, it is expected that this action plan will help reduce oral disease: 

  • among children aged 0-6 years by 50%
  • among children age 7-11 years by 33%
  • among adolescents 12-16 years by 20%

Through the THIF's pan-territorial fund, the Northwest Territories will receive $400,000 for a project focussed on after care and counselling for individuals who have undergone addictions treatment. This project will use e-health technology to create a more client-focussed approach and allow for follow up care in a client's home community.  Part of the funding will also be used to develop a model for eCounselling that will increase access to services, particularly for individuals in smaller communities.   

To offset the continued cost burden associated with medical travel, the Northwest Territories will receive $5.3 million from the THIF. It is expected that as health care system needs are addressed by increasing services "in-territory", the reliance on medical travel will be reduced in the years to come.

This THIF investment announcement is aligned with Canada's Northern Strategy and the Northern Wellness Approach.

 Quick Facts

  • The THIF is a $70 million three-year pan-territorial initiative to strengthen health services in the territories and was announced in Economic Action Plan 2014.
  • This investment builds on the $270 million provided over the past nine years through the Territorial Health System Sustainability Initiative.
  • Healthy Northerners and healthy Northern communities contribute to Canada's overall social and economic development.
  • The Northern Wellness Approach recognizes the unique health priorities of Northerners and enables northern governments the flexibility to deliver health programs based on their needs. Through the Northern Wellness Approach, the Government of the Northwest Territories signed a 5-year agreement and will receive approximately $46.3 million between 2013/14 and 2017/18

Quotes

""These investments will directly support the health needs of many rural and remote communities here in the Northwest Territories. We will continue building healthy and self-sufficient Northern communities that contribute to social and economic development in Canada's north."
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Environment

"Health Canada's support through the Territorial Health Investment Fund gives us the opportunity to target priority service needs such as oral health and mental health, and to implement much-needed changes to the structure of the health and social services system.  These innovations will enable us to move to an integrated system which places top priority on providing the best possible care for all residents, and improving services throughout the Northwest Territories."
The Honourable Glen Abernethy
Minister of Health and Social Services for the Northwest Territories.

 

SOURCE Health Canada

For further information: Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Health Canada, Media Relations, (613) 957-2983; Public Inquiries: (613) 957-2991, 1-866 225-0709


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