THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Jason Smallboy has released the following statement as a national study on cancer survival has found that First Nation adults in Canada have a poorer five-year survival from cancer than non-Aboriginals:
“This study supports what First Nation leaders and many health officials have been saying for years, that there is a significant gap in First Nation health compared to the rest of society that is severely marginalizing health outcomes for our people. Increasing prevalence of cancer, late diagnosis and lack of access to care are contributing factors to low survivor rates among First Nation cancer patients. The findings of this study are indicative of the broader issues across the spectrum of health care and the delivery of services in NAN First Nations. Efforts have been made by the provincial and federal governments, but health outcomes are not improving and our communities are in crisis. Many current policies on health care act as barriers to accessing health care services, especially in isolated and remote communities. We need policies that work for our First Nations. Both levels of government need to address the jurisdictional ambiguity that exists in the health care system in NAN territory so our people have access to the right care, at the right time, in the right place, by the right person.”
A Health and Public Health Emergency for NAN First Nations was declared in February 24, 2016 to address urgent health issues caused by the inequality of health and health care services.
Nan leaders and health officials testified before a federal standing committee in Ottawa and presented recommendations on April 14, 2016