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Aboriginal Access to Health Care Systems. Ontario Aboriginal Health Advocacy Initiative. Agenda. ‣ Overview of OAHAI ‣ The Healing and Wellness Strategy ‣ General Population Statistics ‣ Aboriginal Health Issues ‣ Poverty ‣ Aboriginal Health Policy

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Aboriginal access to health care systems

Aboriginal Access to Health Care Systems







‣ Overview of OAHAI

‣ The Healing and Wellness Strategy

‣ General Population Statistics

‣ Aboriginal Health Issues

‣ Poverty

‣ Aboriginal Health Policy

‣Traditional Native values vs. Western Values

‣ Our Priorities and where do we go from here ?

The ontario aboriginal health advocacy initiative oahai who we are
The Ontario Aboriginal Health Advocacy Initiative (OAHAI) Who We Are…….

OAHAI was established to address key health concerns of Aboriginal people regarding;

Quality, Equity and Access

Oahai s mandate
OAHAI’s Mandate

To address the inequitable access to quality, culturally appropriate health

services for Aboriginal, First Nation and Metis people throughout the Province

of Ontario

Who funds us
Who Funds Us…….

Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy (AHWS)

Unique partnership with Government of Ontario

In 1990 Aboriginal organizations and the

government developed the Strategy

To address poor health conditions as well as the alarming

rates of family violence Aboriginal people in the

Province have endured

Our government partners
Our Government Partners

Ministry of Community and Social Services

Ministry of Health and Long term Care

Ontario Native Affairs Secretariat

Ontario Women’s Directorate

Aboriginal healing wellness strategy services and programs
Aboriginal Healing & Wellness StrategyServices and Programs

Community Wellness Workers

Crisis Intervention Teams

Health Liaisons and Outreach Workers

Healing Lodges


Aboriginal Health Access Centres

Maternal and Child Centres

Information Clearing Houses

Training Programs

Aboriginal Healthy Babies/Healthy Children’s Programs

Aboriginal Health Advocacy Initiative

General population statistics
General Population Statistics

  • Aboriginal people represent approximately 3% of Canada’s total population

  • Over 50% of the Aboriginal population are under the age of 24; 40 % are under the age of 16

General health issues
General Health Issues

  • Aboriginal people experience a broad range of health issues, many of which lead Aboriginal people to suffer from among the poorest health levels in the country

  • Aboriginal people have shorter life expectancies; experience more violent and accidental deaths; have higher infant mortality rates increased suicides and…

General health issues cont d
General Health Issues (cont’d)

  • …suffer from a number of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, TB, cancer, arthritis, etc.

  • Aboriginal people have the highest smoking rates in the country

  • 57% of Aboriginal adults and 54% of Aboriginal teens smoke (some start as young as 8)

General health issues cont d1
General Health Issues (cont’d)

Aboriginal people experience a

much tougher battle with

HIV / AIDS than the

broader Canadian population

General health issues cont d2
General Health Issues (cont’d)

  • The fastest growing HIV/AIDS population is

    15-29 year old Aboriginal women

  • This population represents between

    35 – 40% of the new cases

    reported in 2001

Aboriginal poverty
Aboriginal Poverty

  • 52.1% of all Aboriginal children are poor.

  • 12% of all families are headed by parents under 25 years of age vs. 3% in the general population

  • 27% of Aboriginal families are headed by single mothers vs. 12% in the general population

  • Over 40% of Aboriginal families in urban areas are headed by single mothers

Aboriginal poverty cont d
Aboriginal Poverty (cont’d)

  • 47.2% of the Aboriginal community lives on less than $12,000 per year

Aboriginal health policy
Aboriginal Health Policy

  • Ontario has an Aboriginal Health Policy, designed by Aboriginal community representatives and the Ontario Ministry of Health in 1994

Aboriginal health policy cont d
Aboriginal Health Policy (cont’d)

Designed to assist the MOH address the inequities in Aboriginal Health

Aboriginal health policy cont d1
Aboriginal Health Policy (cont’d)

Visions and Principals include:

  • wholistic / holistic

  • physical, mental, emotional and spiritual

  • based on partnership

  • Aboriginal ownership, control and access cultural foundation

Aboriginal health policy cont d2
Aboriginal Health Policy (cont’d)

Three Strategic areas:

  • health status

  • access to services and

  • planning and representation

Policy aboriginal health status
Policy – Aboriginal Health Status

This part of the policy addresses:

  • poor health status

  • the lack of coordination

  • the inequity of funding and

    the overemphasis on treatment rather than wellness

Policy aboriginal health status cont d
Policy – Aboriginal Health Status (cont’d)

Approaches articulated in this part of the policy include:

  • healing and wellness programs

  • health empowerment

  • co-operation and co-ordination between community practitioners

  • including healers, Elders, medicine people, midwives, community health workers and other health providers

  • The policy also promotes a necessary equity of funding

Policy access to services
Policy – Access to Services

This component of the Policy addresses:

  • transportation

  • language

  • cultural concerns

  • client advocacy

  • lack of recruitment, retention and professional development of health care workers

  • lack of recognition and acceptance of traditional healers

Policy planning and representation
Policy – Planning and Representation

The Policy identifies barriers

  • lack of understanding and recognition of Aboriginal issues

  • cultural biases

  • a fundamental lack of respect

  • lack of involvement of Aboriginal people in decision making

  • the lack of awareness of rights to available services

Policy planning and representation cont d
Policy – Planning and Representation (cont’d)

The proposed approaches outlined in the Policy includes:

  • planning authorities

  • representation of Aboriginal people in health bodies, both service-based and regulatory and, improved relations with government

Issues on the immediate horizon
Issues on the Immediate Horizon

  • Disease management

  • Prevention and promotion strategies

  • The development of a mental health policy

  • Poverty and nutrition

  • Governance

  • Access to services

  • The development of partnerships

Current oahai priorities
Current OAHAI Priorities


Hepatitis C

Youth Sexual Health

Medical Transportation

Mental Health and Addictions

Creating Partnership

Ontario aboriginal health advocacy initiative
Ontario Aboriginal Health Advocacy Initiative

219 Front Street East

Toronto, Ontario

M5A 1E8

Phone 416-956-7575

Fax 416-956-7577

Provincial Program Manager

Jo-Anne Miller