OTTAWA, Oct. 20, 2016 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, responsible for AFN's national health portfolio, participated yesterday in the Health Ministers' meeting in a session on Indigenous health.
Regional Chief Day was joined by Chief Tony Alexis from the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, Chair of the AFN Task Team on the Health Accord, as well as a delegation from the AFN Chiefs' Committee on Health. Given the persistent health crises facing First Nations communities, First Nations involvement in these discussions is long overdue. AFN presented early insights on its submission to the Health Accord.
"I acknowledge the important contributions being made by the AFN Chiefs' Committee on Health," said National Chief Bellegarde. "First Nations are taking the lead in addressing the many health challenges facing our peoples. Together, we will close the health gap between First Nations and Canada – and that starts by asserting that our voices and our agenda are acknowledged and upheld by Canada's Health Accord."
"Yesterday, I presented a number of key issues and positions for the Health Accord that have the potential to close the health outcomes gap between First Nations and other Canadians and, as a consequence, help ensure the sustainability of all health systems in Canada," said AFN Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day. "The First Nations Health Transformation Agenda is based on three key areas: closing the gap in health outcomes, transformed relationships and health governance, and sustainable, predictable and needs-based investments. First Nations have the right and ability to determine their own health priorities. Relationships that reflect the nation-to-nation principle must be based on shared decision-making and reciprocal accountability. In addition, First Nations are seeking investments to close the outcomes gap from Canada and the provinces and territories within their respective jurisdictions."
At this early stage, the AFN is calling for a commitment on two specific items:
- For provinces/territories to work with First Nations within their jurisdictions (and Health Canada, where appropriate) to identify and address areas of shared priority.
- In 2017, for the provinces/territories/federal government to commit to a national dialogue with First Nations to, among other topics, share successes and best practices and to develop common key indicators to measure progress on closing the gap in First Nations health outcomes.
First Nations transformational change cannot wait for another life lost due to a broken healthcare system. While the provinces, territories and the federal governments work towards alignment on the Health Accord, the AFN, the AFN Task Team on Health Accord, and the Chiefs Committee on Health remain committed to pursuing the First Nations Health Transformation Agenda.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
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