SECWEPEMC TERRITORY (Kamloops) – First Nations in the B.C. Interior, the First Nations Health Council and the Interior Health Authority are celebrating the creation of a new relationship with the signing of the Interior Partnership Accord on Nov. 14, 2012.
The forward-thinking agreement will lead to greater collaboration on elevating the health and wellness outcomes for First Nations in the Interior Region and prepares all parties to work together in new ways that will promote the values of ‘collaboration, trust, inclusion, celebration and innovation’. The Accord will establish a culturally appropriate coordinated and integrated First Nations health and wellness system and lays out a number of achievable goals, action plans, accountability structures and measureable indicators to gauge its success.
“This is only the beginning of the changes that will lead us to our vision of healthy, self-determining, vibrant, BC First Nations children, families and communities,” said Gwen Phillips, of the First Nations Health Council Interior Caucus. “The Interior Partnership Accord builds on a number of historic agreements and includes the principles that Interior Nations articulated in their Unity Declaration in 2010, that we have a responsibility to care for our people in ways that make sense to us and to govern over the territories that the Creator gifted us with.”
Actions stemming from the Accord will result in improved quality, accessibility, delivery, effectiveness, and efficiency of health care programs and services. It will also reflect the cultures and perspectives of Interior First Nations by incorporating First Nations’ models of wellness, and build First Nations health human resource capacity, along with other initiatives. The agreement embraces knowledge sharing and the discussion of addressing the broader social determinants of health while leaving no Nation behind within the Interior region.
“The health of First Nations people within our region is a key priority for Interior Health,” says Interior Health Board Chair Norman Embree. “Today’s signing is an important step forward as we continue to collaborate with the communities and build on the success of our Aboriginal Health team, to address health disparities and ensure access to culturally appropriate care.”
This Partnership Accord is the final of five regional agreements already signed throughout the province that moves First Nations and the respective regional health authorities in their territory in a new direction.
The regional Partnership Accords are part of a greater vision in the creation of a more effective, innovative, culturally appropriate health care system for BC First Nation communities.
Specific Interior Partnership Accord Action Plan items include:
• Forming a Health and Wellness Committee comprised of senior management from both parties.
• Developing a consistent and harmonized planning and evaluation framework.
• Developing Regional Health and Wellness plans that build upon Community/Nation Health Plans with set standards, targets, outcomes and measurements.
• Develop service delivery systems to better reflect the needs of First Nation people in the Interior Region.
• Develop a comprehensive health human resources strategy.
• Establish common indicators, targets, milestones, and benchmarks.
The Accord builds on several key documents and agreements on First Nations health, including the Transformative Change Accord: First Nations Health Plan, Tripartite First Nations Health Plan, Consensus Paper 2011: British Columbia First Nations Perspectives on a New Health Governance Arrangement, British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance, and Interior Nations Unity Declaration.