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The new Accord will lay the groundwork for innovative ways to deliver health services, as well as the creation of a more integrated, culturally appropriate, safe and effective health system.

Warner Adam of the Northern Regional Health Caucus explained the future benefits of the Accord.

“The Northern Partnership Accord is a forward-thinking document that we will see in the future as a turning point in the creation of a more effective health service delivery system for First Nations in Northern B.C. The mutual cooperation and willingness to work together between partners with the goal of improving the lives of our First Nations communities made this Accord a success.”

The new agreement includes the development of a joint Northern Health and Northern First Nations Health and Wellness Committee and Plan, which will identify the health requirements of Northern First Nations communities, find solutions and use measurable indicators to track the success.

The Accord also acknowledges the right of self-governance for each First Nations community, and the need for the new agreement to close the gaps and remove barriers to accessing and improving health services.

Due to the remote communities spread across a vast area of land, many Northern B.C. First Nations communities face a variety of distinct health services challenges. The interim First Nation Health Authority claims statistics have shown that health indicator gaps are larger for First Nations in the North than in the rest of the province, combined with other unique issues related to social determinants of health, such as housing, education and economic factors.

CEO of Northern Health Cathy Ulrich, talked about her company’s new partnership.

“Northern Health has a commitment to high quality of services and a population health approach. Working with the interim First Nations Health Authority is ensuring those principles lead us to better outcomes for all people is a vision we both share.”

The new partnership will also be looking to increase understanding of First Nations traditions, customs and protocols in the entire Northern Health system.

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