Sioux Lookout – Five students were among the second group of graduates to graduate from the Maternal-infant Support Worker program offered in Sioux Lookout last week.
The students are from Slate Falls, Sioux Lookout, Fort Severn, Bearskin, and Wunnumin Lake.
The MiSW program is a certificate program that resulted from a collaboration between the Sioux Lookout Area Aboriginal Management Board, Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre, Confederation College and the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research at Lakehead University.
The aim of the program is to improve the care of mothers and infants living in remote First Nations by providing enhanced skills to community health representatives in those communities. The support and partnership of the community health centres have also been a vital piece of the program’s success.
The program prepares graduates to work with expectant mothers, their infants and their families with traditional and western teachings blended throughout. Maternal-infant Support Workers apply a holistic approach – which considers the mind, body and spirit – to assessing needs and a client-centred focus. As part of a healthcare team, they will incorporate Indigenous cultural beliefs, values and practices.
The key role of the Maternal-infant Support Worker is providing a focus on health promotion and illness prevention strategies and participating in community wellness programs. MiSW’s are able to provide a range of prenatal and postnatal resources in addition to supporting expecting mothers, fathers and extended family.
The support worker will also perform home visits that allow for more effective communication strategies and problem-solving. Home visits allow the worker to engage with the extended family reflecting the cultural and multi-generational nature of many Indigenous families.