NAN calls on governments to step up in wake of arrival of H1N1 to territory

    THUNDER BAY, ON, June 15 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief
Stan Beardy, together with Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, is calling on the
federal and provincial governments to react immediately to mobilize health
supports for NAN First Nations now that H1N1 has arrived to the territory.
    "Our situation is very much like Mexico, where you have people living in
poor and cramped conditions that needs to be taken into consideration as the
governments roll out their responses to our medical health needs," said Grand
Chief Stan Beardy following a teleconference today with Health Canada, where
NAN was informed that there are now 13 confirmed cases of H1N1 in six NAN
First Nations. "We are seeing clusters of outbreaks that have potential to 
move quickly through the population. We need to ensure that our people will
have adequate medical attention as well as adequate medical supplies to
address their health concerns if the need arises."
    During the teleconference, Health Canada said existing staff could be
re-deployed to communities if needed, and that it was looking at entering into
a formal agreement with Ontario to bring additional medical staff and
pandemic-related health supplies to First Nations that have reported cases of
H1N1 outbreaks.
    "Even though the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic,
neither Canada nor Ontario have followed suit and yet, in our communities,
H1N1 is spreading and has reached outbreak status in one First Nation. That is
compelling evidence that the situation is an emerging pandemic," said Deputy
Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. "Any attempts to contain an emerging pandemic in
remote First Nations is a community-wide, resource and labour-intensive 
operation and both levels of government must guarantee additional support such
as personnel, supplies and other logistical needs are met."

    Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization
representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty 9 and the Ontario
portion of Treaty 5 - an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario.

For further information:

For further information: Joyce Hunter, A/Director of Communications -
Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4952 or (807) 472-5638 mobile

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