by Joe MacEachern, NIHB Navigator, APC

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Chiefs are calling for reform to the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program. With the continuing changes that Health Canada has made to NIHB there has been a widening gap in health outcomes between First Nations and non-First Nations health according to AFN Regional Chief Stan Beardy.

National Chief Atleo stated, “Gaps in access to health services and outcomes is a critical concern and must compel action. This situation directly affects children and families and it demands commitment and attention to address urgent needs and achieve sustainable long term solutions. The health and well-being of our Nations is at stake – this affects all of our peoples and all of Canada.”

In December the Assembly of First Nations Special Chief’s Assembly (SCA), the AFN Chiefs Committee on Health (CCOH), the National First Nations Health Technician Network (NFNHTN) and the AFN NIHB Caucus held special meeting to discuss issues and possible solutions being raised around the country concerning Health Canada’s NIHB Program. These meetings were a part of AFN’s National Campaign and overall effort in cooperation with numerous regional organizations such as the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs (APC), to take on a reinvigorated campaign to demand that Health Canada and the Canadian government make fundamental alterations to the existing NIHB program to improve Health outcomes for First Nations across this country.< ...

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