First Nations Health And Wellbeing : Government Enacted Health Equity Programming

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First Nations Health and Wellbeing: Government Enacted Health Equity Programming Health care is a major focus of both the federal and provincial Canadian governments. Policies and programs are created, revised, and implemented in order to improve the overall health and wellbeing of Canadian citizens. Canada’s publically funded health care system offers access to quality health care services and treatment to most citizens. However, extensive research demonstrates that despite government attempts, some groups are not benefitting from those health care services to the same extent as others. Health and wellbeing are positively correlated with socioeconomic status, meaning that as socioeconomic status decreases so too does overall health and…show more content…
This blatant discrimination and racism in the health care system makes it unsafe and uncomfortable for First Nations people to access health services. As a consequence, opportunities for early intervention and prevention of health problems are reduced significantly (HCC, 2012). When considering these consequences in terms of pre and post-natal care, Smith (2003) argues that weak preventative and health-promoting care during these times is a significant contributor to poor health outcomes throughout an individual’s life. Research conducted by Dr. Janet Smylie, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Toronto, indicates that the rate of First Nations infant mortality on reserves is double that of the national average (as cited in Webster, 2012). This shocking statistic is demonstrative of the failing efforts of any government initiated First Nations health care programming. First Nations people are often of a lower socioeconomic status that then average Canadian citizen. Poverty increases the risk of developing chronic disease and premature death. Increased risk of chronic disease is a result of material deprivation, inadequate housing, poor nutrition, physical and emotional stress, and poor access to health care services (HCC, 2012; Reading, 2009). The HCC (2012) reported that First Nations individuals are more likely than other Canadian citizens to live with a

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