University of Manitoba Today – Joint study by the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba (FNHSSM) and the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba, “The Health Status of and Access to Healthcare by Registered First Nation Peoples in Manitoba” compares health data collected in 2015-2017 with the results of a study the MCHP published in 2002.
“When we look at health status and health-care access, the inequities between First Nation people and all other Manitobans have gotten worse, according to many indicators,” said Leona Star, a Cree woman who is director of research at FNHSSM and co-led the study.
For example, the First Nations life expectancy from birth in 2002 was 7 years lower than for the non-Indigenous population; in 2019 First Nations life expectancy from birth is now 11 years lower.
Other disturbing trends:
- First Nation people’s rate of premature mortality (death before age 75):
- 2002 = 2x other Manitobans;
- 2019 = now 3x
- Suicide rates for First Nations people = 5 x higher
- Suicide attempts by First Nations people = 6x higher
- As we have now documented that health inequities have increased since 2002, we propose the following specific actions:
- Annual reporting on progress in addressing gaps in health and access to healthcare;
- Development of strategic initiatives for equitable access to intervention and prevention measures (including addressing racism in the health system through mandatory cultural safety training for all staff, hiring of First Nation providers, new human resource policies for safe reporting of racist incidents);
- Development of short-and long-term plans for the training and hiring of First Nation healthcare professionals;
- Further development of research partnerships among MCHP, MHSAL, FNHSSM and Manitoba First Nations;
Setting First Nations on the path to borderless healthcare delivery by improving access to primary care healthcare that is designed and delivered through First Nations-led partnerships.