June 12, 2012
Westbank British Columbia: Four years of devising an approach to ensuring Okanagan Nation people have equitable access to the best health care is coming to a close, the Okanagan Nation Alliance and the Interior Health Authority will sign a letter of understanding June13, 2012. The agreement is a framework between the two partners whereby health planning, service design, resource allocation and information sharing would occur for the benefit of the Okanagan Nation
The process began when the Government of Canada’s Aboriginal Health Transfer Fund Integration Envelope provided ONA with funding with a key objective of attaining a thorough policy agreement between ONA and IHA.
“The health and well being of all our citizens is of paramount importance and today’s signing of this LOU said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Chairman of ONA “It represents an initial first step of our Nation and Interior Health to begin a long journey of dialogue and resolve that ensures First Nations have equitable access to the Best Health Care available to them,”.
A Working Group was created in August 2011 to design a LOU Terms of Reference, in order to reach the groups’ health mandate, “To advocate for Syilx control and management of their health, programs and services.”
The group’s key objectives entail the promotion and strengthening of the working relationships between the ONA and IHA, while pertaining to future prospects for partnership in advancing health care for Aboriginal people in the ONA.
“The LOU is a document that represents our continuing working relationship with the Okanagan Nation Alliance,” says Interior Health Authority Board Chair Norman Embree. “It provides the opportunity for meaningful participation and collaboration on health planning to improve services for Aboriginal people and Interior Health will benefit from the insight and knowledge the ONA brings to the table.”
“Quite often our Elders remind us that we must commit to work together to achieve what we cannot accomplish by ourselves,” further commented Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.
Okanagan Nation Alliance Media Contact:
Interior Health Media Contact:
Communications Officer, Central