OTTAWA, June 12, 2012 /CNW/ - That's the message from Jane Gray, the National Projects Manager of the First Nations Regional Health Survey, or RHS. "Nearly every indicator of the quality of life on-reserves has gone down or plateau'ed," Ms. Gray says. "But there's hope because we find improvement in some very important areas. And we can tell you what they are."
The FNIGC released its National Report of the RHS Phase 2 (2008/10) on Parliament Hill before an group of politicians, government officials and health organizations .
"We've been measuring the health and living conditions of First Nations since the mid-1990s," says Gray. "There are more people reporting an annual income of less than $10,000 a year in this survey than our previous one. Poverty on-reserves is getting worse."
"Nearly 50 per cent of children on-reserves live in poverty - a significant increase," says Gray. "Nearly half of adults live in homes contaminated by mold - again a significant increase. The percentage of people reporting only one source of income went up to 43% from 36% in that same period. This is the real story."
The Regional Health Survey began in the mid-1990s after the Federal Government commissioned seven national surveys on health and living conditions which excluded First Nations. First Nations decided to take the initiative, develop their own surveys with the support of Health Canada and Regional partners. This was the birth of the RHS process 17 years ago.
The RHS has built a solid reputation of trust with First Nations across Canada. Today, it is the most extensive and accurate snapshot of on-reserve health and living conditions anywhere. The RHS has also become a worldwide model for Indigenous research.
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