First Nations and Inuit Health strategies and initiatives

Health Canada is committed to delivering health programs and providing high-quality health care to First Nations people and Inuit. To address the health issues faced by the Aboriginal people in Canada, the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch at Health Canada carries out the following strategies and initiatives:

Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative

At the September 2004 First Ministers Meeting, the federal government announced that it would be allocating $100 M over the next five years towards an Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative (AHHRI).

The AHHRI will have three main areas of focus:

  • to increase the number of Aboriginal people working in health careers;
  • to adapt health care educational curricula to support the development of cultural competencies; and
  • to improve the retention of health care workers in Aboriginal communities.

Health Canada will work with Aboriginal, federal, provincial, territorial and health professional associations as well as educational institutions to develop and implement the AHHRI.

The AHHRI will build on the work already underway through the Pan-Canadian Health Human Resources Strategy.

Children's Oral Health Initiative

The Children's Oral Health Initiative (COHI) was developed as a means to address the disparity between the oral health of First Nations and Inuit and that of the general Canadian population. COHI was launched on a test basis in Fall 2004.

COHI focuses on the prevention of dental disease and promotion of good oral health practices. The goal of COHI is to shift the emphasis from a primarily treatment based approach to a more balanced prevention and treatment focus. The initial focus for oral health promotion will be directed at three target groups:

  • pregnant women and primary caregivers;
  • pre-school children, 0-4 years of age; and
  • school children, 5-7 years of age.

Health Canada expects that the COHI, once fully implemented in subsequent years, will result in significant improvement of the oral health in First Nations and Inuit.

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