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A Message from the First Nations Health Council

Date:

Following the March 21 joint FNHA-FNHC-FNHDA call to postpone or cancel all gatherings, the FNHC calls on community leadership, Hereditary Chiefs, Matriarchs and Spiritual Leaders to help reinforce the critical public health advice to postpone cultural gatherings and large ceremonies.

Please respect this critical advice – our spiritual teachings place our Elders and most vulnerable citizens at the forefront of our collective responsibilities to our communities and Nations. During this time of self-isolation and physical distancing (6-feet from each other), please use this time for prayer and self-reflection, stay safe and protect the health of you and your family.

As leaders within your communities, you play a key role in making sure everyone is healthy and safe.  The four most important things that you can do:

  • Encourage everyone to be kind, calm and stay healthy by following public health guidelines.
  • Support community leadership to ensure compliance with the handwashing and physical distancing recommendations and the March 21 call to cancel or postpone all gatherings.
  • Check FNHC.ca/coronavirus for the latest information and resources on COVID-19 for individuals, health professionals and communities.
  • Take responsibility for staying informed and sharing only trusted resources – misinformation can be harmful and cause greater risk to our communities and overburden staff. In this evolving situation, sometimes the answer isn’t known or available right now.

Other ways of supporting your health staff in dealing with COVID-19 include:

  • Review your existing Communicable Disease Emergency Plan (Pandemic Plan) and update it as needed.
  • Review the community’s supply of essentials.
  • Where there is one, check to see if the community health centre or nursing stations requires additional support to prepare for possible coronavirus patients.
  • Train and prepare staff to cover for each other as people may need time off to care for their families or for themselves.
  • Involve the whole community in efforts to prevent the spread of the virus by sharing tips on how to prevent its spread, as well as how to recognize the symptoms in each other.

If your community has concerns about access to care relating to COVID-19, contact your FNHA Regional Team or covid19@fnha.ca. Your First Nation Health Council regional representatives are also a source of information and support during this crisis – please call on them.