Improved mental wellness, better access, increased collaboration, and building cultural competence are part of a new aboriginal health and wellness strategy approved by the Interior Health Authority
The document sets the path for the agency to work with First Nations and Métis partners on improving health outcomes for the about 50,000 aboriginal people living within the IHA region.
“Everyone has unique health needs but, as this document points out, the needs of the aboriginal population within Interior Health are markedly different than the rest of our population,” said Erwin Malzer, IHA chairperson.
“We have a responsibility to ensure equal access and appropriate health services.”
For example, individuals of aboriginal ancestry have higher rates of mental illness than the general population (approximately 16 per cent compared to eight per cent) while they have lower rates of cardiovascular disease (approximately six per cent compared to 13 per cent).
The document is now posted under aboriginal health at www.interiorhealth.ca.