Indigenous health authorities that service Western Canadian First Nations say they are experiencing problems accessing enough medical and protective equipment needed to protect their citizens from COVID-19.

Senior representatives from regional First Nations health authorities in Saskatchewan and British Columbia told a Commons committee Friday they need more personal protective equipment.

“We have delays in accessing PPE,” said Tara Campbell, executive director of the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority in Saskatchewan.

“On-reserve populations’ PPE in Saskatchewan are distributed by the province and unfulfilled requests are then forward to the national emergency stockpile.”

She also said medical supplies such as thermometers and testing supplies are not readily available and that nursing capacity “remains a critical issue.”

Story continues below advertisement

Campbell noted the key role that testing played in addressing an outbreak in the northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche earlier this month, where extensive door-to-door and mobile testing was done to identify and stop the spread of the virus.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“By being able to test and get results sooner,

 » READ MORE FROM GLOBAL NEWS